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Consulting Editor : PEOFESSOR MACKINNON 
Acting Editor : MISS E. C. CARMICHAEL 

JULY 1908 TO APRIL 1909 





Edinburgh : T. and A. Constable, Printers to His Majesty 



The Origin of Druidism, . . Julius Pokorny, Ph.D,, 

Vienna, . . 1 

Unpublished Poems. Alexander 

Macdonald (Mac Mhaighstir 

Alastair), . . . Professor Macldnnon, 

20, 116, 225, 294 

Through Western Windows — 

Some Celtic Dreams, . . Lachlan Maclean Watt, 

A Sketch of Welsh Literature — 

To be continued, . . Arthur Hughes, 

Highland Mythology, . .E.G. Watson, 

The Clan Cameron, . . Rev. A. Maclean Sinclair 

Scottish Gaelic Dialects — contd., . Rev. G. M. Robertson, 

Oran Luathadh, ...... 

The late Mr. Donald MacKechnie, Professor Donald Mac- 

kinnon, . 




The Life of Adamnan, . . M. Joynt, . 

Calum-Cille Agus Dobhran a 

Bhrathair, . . . From the MSS. of the late 

Rev. Father Allan Mac- 
donald, . . . 107 

The First Celtic Eucharistic Hymn, Rev. Father Atkinson, . 109 

A Noble Trait in the Character of 
Marshal Macdonald, Duke of 
Tarentum, . . . K. N. Macdonald, M,D., . 112 

CuchuUin's Death, . . . Don. A. Mackenzie, . 128 



Highland Folk-Song, . . Rev. M. N. Mwrvro, . 132 

Sea- Poems — continued, . • . Kenneth MacLeod, . .146 

Topographical Varia, . .W.J, Watson, . 148, 337 

Fairy Tales (English and Gaelic), . . . .155 

An Obscure Point in the Itinerary 
of St. Columbanus on his way 
to Gaul, .... Pere Louis Oougaud, . 171 

Reviews of Books : 

A Scots Earl : The Life and Times of Archibald, ninth Earl of Argyll 
{reviewed by Professor Mackinnon) ; Some Passages in the Early- 
History of Classical Learning in Ireland {reviewed by W. J. Watson) ; 
The Old Highlands ; Modern Gaelic Bards ; The Making of Ireland 
and its Undoing, 1200—1600 {reviewed by W. J. Watson) ; Laoid- 
hean agus Dain Spioradail ; Cywyddau Cymru {reviewed by H. Idris 
Bell) ; Songs of the Hebrides {reviewed by M. N. M.) ; Binneas nam 
Bard {reviewed by M. N. ikf.), . . . 186, 283, 375 

Reply : 

Locality of the Cill-Iosa, . . . . . . -191 

Re Proposed Memorial to the late 

Rev. Father Allan Macdonald, . . . .192 

Some Notes on a well-known Work 
and its little-known Author, 

A Celtic Poet, 

Scenes in Lewis, 

The Glaistig and the Black Lad, 

Tarbh Mor na H-Iorbhaig, 

. 193 

Frances M. Oostling, . 202 

By Lewis Children, . 235 

Do7iald A. Mackenzie, . 253 

From the MSS. of the late 
Rev. Father Allan Mac- 
donald, . . .259 

AnCuanSiar, . . . Goinneach MacLeoid, . 266 

A Sequel to the Legend of St. 

Brendan, . . . Dominick Daly, . . 273 




Micheal Breathnach, 

. Alice Milligan, 

. 281 

Notes : 

Notes (chiefly on books) ; 

The Making of Ireland and its Undoing, 


287, 381 

Gaelic Glosses, . . . Whitley Stokes, D.G.L., . 291 

Celtic Relations of St. Oswald of 
Northumbria, . . . J. M. Mackinlay, F.S.A. 

Scot, and Lond., . 304 

Macgregor Genealogies, . . Rev. A. Maclean Sinclair, 309 

The New National University in 
Ireland and the Irish Language. 
An Craoibhin Aoibhinn, 

Military Perthshire, 

A Modern Instance of Evil-Eye, 

Piobairean Smearcleit, 

A Celtist Honoured, 
The Barons of Bachuil, 

Douglas Hyde, LL.D., . 319 

William Mackay (Inverness), 327 

. 343 

From the MSS. of the late 
Rev. Father Allan Mac- 
donald, . . . 346 

Rev. Donald MacLean (Edin- 
burgh), . . . 347 

Alexander Garmichael, LL.D., 



JULY 15, 1908 


Julius Pokorny, Vienna 

ScHRADER says in his Reallexikon der idg, A Itertumshunde : 
* The Celtic Druids are quite different from the other priest- 
hoods of ancient Europe. Where the first beginnings of their 
origin started from will never be known.' I hope, however, 
to succeed in throwing some light into that obscurity. 

In seeking to determine the origin of Druidism people 
came to very strange ideas. Some thought the Druids pupils 
of Pythagoras, others even took them for Buddhists ; one 
thought the origin of Druidism was in Phoenicia, others 
thought it was in Chaldea or India. The ancients already 
showed great interest in that priesthood, and in the last two 
centuries there arose a great literature dealing with them, 
but it was of no importance as it lost itself in symbolic and 
occult trifles. Notwithstanding, there was no success in 
throwing light on the accounts of the Druids nor in ex- 
plaining the so-called contradictions. 

But when in 1906 there appeared a book by the well- 
known French scholar D'Arbois de Jubainville, Les Druides 
et les Dieux 'Celtiques aux Formes des Animaux, the scientific 
world hoped to receive at last some enlightenment regarding 
that mysterious institution. De Jubainville's book, however, 
is not much more than a compilation of the most important 
things we know about the Druids, and he only tells us what 
we already know from other sources. 

VOL. v. A 


In the first chapter of his book De Jubainville speaks of 
the Gaulish priests : — 

* They have two kinds of priests, the Druids and the " Gutuatri." 
When Csesar subdued independent Gaul in the first century before 
our era, the Druids had already gained an important position, but 
he was told that Druidism originated in Britain and had been 
transferred from thence to Gaul. 

'Before the establishment of the Druids on the Continent the 
Gauls had no other priests than the " Gutuatri." He derives their 
name from the Celtic " gutu," Ir. guth (voice), and compares it with 
our German word " Gott," from the Indo-Eur. " ghutom " (what is 
invoked), from the root " ghu." " Gutuatri " would then mean, " the 
invoking ones," from the same root as the Goth, "gudja" (priest). 
They were all priests of temples or of holy groves. The " Gutuatri " 
were still extant during the Roman occupation. We have their name 
preserved on four inscriptions.' 

De Jubainville compares the ' Gutuatri ' with the Homeric 

* Upevsy' with Chryses who bears the surname ' dprjTtjp/ which 
signifies the same thing as * Gutuatros ' and with the 

* Flamines ' of the Romans who, like them, formed no 

'The Druids, however, formed a corporation and had an Arch- 
Druid over them, not only in Gaul, but in Ireland, and probably also 
in England.' 

In this passage I cannot agree with De Jubainville. In the 
Irish literature a chief of the Druids is never mentioned, and 
from the sentence in the Life of St. Patrick : Congregata est 
multitude nimis magorum ad primum magum Recradum 
nomine,' we are not justified in concluding that the Irish 
Druids had a head. The passage can also signify, that 
Recradus was at that time the most famous Druid. It is 
even very possible that we owe here to the Christian writer, 
who wished to enhance the glory of the holy man, a little 
exaggeration, for somewhat later we read how St. Patrick 
killed this Druid by means of a miracle. We have therefore 
in the Arch-Druid a special Gaulish institution. 

In the art of prophecy the Druids had rivals in the 


* Vatis/ who by Strabo are called ' ovaTei^' by Diodorus 
*/xai/T€c?/ St. Patrick did not vanquish the Druids till he 
had associated himself with the ' Yatis/ Ir. fathi, filid. 

De Jubainville, agreeing with Thurneysen, derives the 
name of the Druids from the root 'dru,' and translates the name 

* druis ' by * the most wise one/ the Galatic ' dru-nemeton ' 
by * arch-sanctuary/ and quotes as the Gaulish synonym 
' ver-nemeton/ (Other derivations of the word ' druis ' are 
possible. Of. Cymr. derwydd ; Gaul, dervum.) 

The second chapter seems to me to be the most important 
of the whole book, and therefore I propose to give it word 
for word in translation : — 

' It seems that the Druids were known to the Greeks since about 
200 B.C. when Sotion mentions them. They existed therefore already 
at that time in Gaul, on the left side of the Rhine, a country which 
was very much visited by merchants of Massilia. This happened not 
long after the Gauls had conquered Britain, which had been occupied 
first by the Gaels. And it seems, in fact, that the conquest had 
probably taken place between 300 and 200 B.C. The Gauls had found 
the Druids in Britain and transferred the institution to the Continent. 
Caesar says so explicitly. (" Disciplina in Britannia reperta atque inde 
in Galliam translata esse existimatur, et nunc qui diligentius earn 
rem cognoscere volunt plerumque illo discendi causa proficiscuntur.") 
We conclude, therefore, that the Druids were originally a Gaelic 
institution peculiar to the Gaels. The Gaels are a Celtic tribe, whose 
language still exists in Ireland and in the Highlands of Scotland. 
From this tribe, which had during a long time occupied all the British 
Island, Druidism had been transferred into the large countries which 
lay spread out to the south of the Channel between the Atlantic 
Ocean and the Rhine ; but it was unknown in Gallia Cisalpina and 
in the lands formerly Celtic, to the east of the Rhine, also in the 
basin of the Danube, and in Asia Minor, where the dru-nemeton 
(arch-sanctuary) is in no way connected with the Druids.' 

So far D'Arbois de Jubainville. Before I proceed further 
I shall shortly summarise what the writers of the ancients 
tell us about the Druids. 

According to Caesar there were two governing classes in 
Gaul : the warlike aristocracy and the Druids. The latter 


were free from military service and from all exactions, and 
through these privileges many of them were drawn to their 
profession, the more readily as Druidism was apparently not 
founded upon birth, but merely upon the engagement and 
training of novices.^ 

The Druids were philosophers and teachers of youth. They 
gave not only lessons in theology and mythology but also 
spoke much about the course of the stars, about the nature 
of all things, and the magnitude of the universe. 

From all the ethical doctrines of the Druids nothing but 
a single sentence is preserved (Diogen. Laert., proem 5) : 
* To be pious against the gods, not to do injury to any one, 
and to practise bravery/ But their first doctrine was, that 
after death they passed into another body. So strong was 
this belief among the people, that bargains were even made 
with the promise to pay them in the future life. The novices 
had to learn by heart a large number of verses, and some 
spent twenty years in learning them. Almost nothing is 
preserved to us from the tradition of the Gaulish Druids, for 
they were not allowed to put down their teaching in writing. 
It was otherwise in Ireland. The author of the Yellow 
Book of Lecan tells us that St. Patrick burnt a hundred and 
eighty books of the Druids, and that after his example all 
Christians did the same, till all Druidical books were de- 

The Druids were also soothsayers and assisted at sacrifices. 

Every year they met in the territory of the Carnutes, and 
many cases were brought to them for decision. The most 
severe punishment they could inflict was exclusion from the 
sacrifices. Those so punished were cut ofi* from all human 
society and treated as outlaws. At the head of the Gaulish 
Druids stood an Arch-Druid, who was elected by the vote of 
his fellow-Druids on the death of his predecessor. 

Caesar seems to include under the name * Druides ' the 
bards and seers (vatis), who were treated by later writers as 

^ Schrader, Beallexikon der idg. AUertumskunde, ii. p. 643. 


The similarity of the Druidical doctrine to that of 
Pythagoras led to many fables. That the Druids did not live 
like monks (a theory set forth by Alexander Bertrand) is 
already clear, as we are told that the Druid Divitiacus, 
Caesar's friend, had a wife and children, and that the Irish 
Druids were mostly married. 

Criminals were sacrificed to the gods, but also innocent 
persons. Large figures made of wickerwork were filled with 
living men and then burned. 

The Romans soon prohibited Druidism ; but it continued 
secretly, and Mela tells us (45 a.d.) that the noblest youths 
of Gaul followed their teachers into secret forests. 

Thirty-five years later Pliny the Elder gives us quite 
another picture of the Druids. He shows them as priests of 
the oak, as physicians and magicians, as nothing better than 
common charlatans. They compose the mystic serpent's egg 
out of snake venom, which assures the success of every action. 

How shall we account for this seeming change? Did 
suppression cause them to set aside their noble teaching in 
order to earn their livelihood in a less worthy manner? I 
shall soon have to show that the Druids were already 
magicians in the earlier times. But how does it happen 
that they are occupied with mean sorcery as well as with an 
earnest science ? In the meantime we may notice that the 
most prudent men are often the greatest charlatans, because 
they know that the great crowd is more easily led by cunning, 
juggling tricks than by high wisdom. 

As to the Druidical belief in the immortality, and their 
doctrine of the transmigration of souls, D'Arbois de Jubain- 
ville quotes many examples of the belief of the Celts in a life 
in the other world, but he thinks the report of their doctrine 
of rebirth an error, which had risen owing to the Greeks 
having heard from the Druids tales of transformations which 
they misunderstood, and so thought that the Druids taught 
the transmigration of souls after the doctrine of Pythagoras. 

Here I venture to make a conjecture. Have we not in 
this doctrine a survival of the belief of the pre-Celtic 


aborigines ? It is possible tbat already the men of the Stone 
Age believed in metempsychosis, as they often buried their 
dead in a cowering position. We can detect the belief in 
metempsychosis chiefly among peoples of a low culture. The 
next step is the belief in rebirth, of which we have also some 
examples in Irish mythology. 

De Jubainville has shown that the Druids originally had 
been the priests of only one Celtic tribe — that which con- 
quered Britain first. It is very strange that between brother- 
nations, whose customs and language differed not very 
widely, such a fundamental distinction should have existed. 
For nothing is so characteristic of a people as its religious 
beliefs. But, as we shall see, Druidism has many features 
quite alien to the character of an Indo-European religion. 
There is but one way to account for such a strange and 
almost fundamental difference as is said to have existed 
between Gaels and Gauls before the occupation of Gaul by 

The Gauls certainly took Druidism from their brethren in 
Britain, but the latter were not yet acquainted with that 
institution when they crossed the Channel. 

For the Druids were the priests of the pre- Celtic aborigines 
of the British Islands^ and it is from them only that the Celts 
received them. 

As the Gaels, the one great nation of the Celts, conquered 
the British Isles about 1000 B.C., they had already attained a 
high degree of culture. They brought with them the know- 
ledge of bronze and burnt their dead. ' ^ 

I suppose that they were ruled by priestly kings, whom 
we find about the same time among the Greeks, Latins, and 
Germans, who have, in common with the Celts, other charac- 
teristics of Indo-European origin. We have no cause what- 
ever to assume that the Celts had differed widely in customs 
and religion in that early time from the neighbouring Indo- 
European brother-nations, which we would have to assume 
if the institution of Druidism had existed among them from 

* Munro, Prehistoric Scotland, p. 480 : London, 1899. 


the earliest times. Yet in historical times we find among 
the Irish Icings traces of the former priestship which had 
originated in the furthest past ages from the divine adoration 
of mighty magicians. 

For the Indo-European peoples once believed what 
savages of the present time believe that their divine ^ ruler 
was the centre of the universe, that he could disturb the 
course of nature by merely moving his hand ; and therefore 
saved their king from the perils which surrounded him, 
even after every common mortal had been rendered harm- 
less through numberless taboos ' (prohibitions). The Indo- 
European races had given up these beliefs, however, before 
they had left the common native home. 

We detect such traces of the former divinity of the kings, 
not only in Homer, when he speaks {Od. xix. 109) of a 
ruler who honours the gods and reigns powerfully, so that 
the earth is fertile and the wealth of the people grows — 
because of the virtues of the king — but also in Ireland and 

The Celts believed that there would be bad crops as a 
punishment for bad rulers. In the Book of Leinster we read 
that under Cairbre Cinnchait, who won the kingdom of 
Ireland by violence and killed mercilessly the children of the 
nobles, every ear of corn bore only one grain, and every oak 
only one acorn. But when the old dynasty came again to 
the throne, Ireland recovered its fertility. To every new 
king the Ollamh, the head-bard, sang some verses, wherein 
he admonished him to reign well, or else famine and disease 
would spoil the land ; and in a Welsh poem of the twelfth 
century it is said : ' We shall have bad years and [long] days 
with false kings and failed crops ' (The Black Book of Car- 

We hear besides of many taboos which the Irish kings 
were obliged to observe even in historical times in order not 
to ruin their land.^ 

^ Cf. Frazer, The Golden Bough, i. pp. 233, 234 : London, 1900. 
2 Ibid., i. p. 240. 


Thus, for example, the sun might not rise on the King of 
Ireland in his bed at Tara, the old capital of Erin ; he was 
forbidden to alight on Wednesday at Magh Breagh, to 
traverse Magh Cuillinn after sunset, to incite his horse at 
Fan Chomair, to go in a ship upon the water the Monday- 
after Bealltaine, and to leave the track of his army upon Ath 
Maighne the Tuesday after All- Hallows. 

The King of Leinster might not go round Tuath Laighean 
left-hand-wise on Wednesday, nor sleep between the Dothair 
and the Duibhlinn on Monday, nor ride a dirty, black-heeled 
horse across Magh Maistean. 

The King of Munster was prohibited from enjoying the 
feast of Loch Lein from one Monday to another; from 
banqueting by night in the beginning of harvest before 
Geim at Leitracha ; from encamping for nine days upon 
the Siuir ; and from holding a border meeting at Gabhran. 

The King of Connacht might not conclude a treaty 
respecting his ancient palace of Cruachan after making 
peace on All-Hallows Day, nor go in a speckled garment 
on a grey-speckled steed to the heath of Dal Chais, nor 
repair to an assembly of women at Seaghais, nor sit in autumn 
on the sepulchral mounds of the wife of Maine, nor contend 
in running with the rider of a grey, one-eyed horse at Ath 
Gallta between two posts. 

The King of Ulster was forbidden to attend the horse 
fair at Rath Line among the youths of Dal Araidhe; to 
listen to the fluttering of the flock of birds of Linn Saileach 
after sunset ; to celebrate the feast of the bull of Daire-mic- 
Daire ; to go into Magh Cobha in the month of March, and 
to drink of the water of Bo-Neimhidh between two 

Hence it follows, that the kings of the Gaels, like those 
of other Indo-European peoples, originated in priests and we 
may conclude, especially as we find the survivals so fresh 
and vivid in Ireland, that the kings of the Gaels when they 
conquered the British Islands were at the same time their 


In the British Islands the Gaels had found an aboriginal 
race which had come over from the Continent in early- 
neolithic times when Ireland and England were still con- 
nected with the Continent (?). These immigrants were of a 
small stature, muscular, with dark hair and dark eyes. They 
were religious, for they buried their dead; and for the 
nobler ones they erected great stone monuments. Their 
culture was that of the Stone Age. Tacitus thinks them 
from their appearance Iberians, and it is at least noteworthy 
that the skulls which have been discovered resemble strongly 
those of the Basques, though it is impossible to prove any- 
thing from that fact.^ 

Their race is still preserved in the dark-eyed, brown-and- 
black-haired population in the west of Ireland, in South 
Wales, in Scotland, in the Isles of Mull and Arran, in 
Argyll and Inverness, and also in Cornwall. 

But if we assume that this race was not wholly crushed 
out by the invading Celts and that they transmitted their 
magicians too, then their nationality must have been very 
strong, as indeed it was, for it has left its traces till to-day 
on the British Isles. I shall not speak here of the linguistic 
remains preserved in the topography and in the Celtic 
languages, nor of the numberless Fetish-stones that are to 
be met with in the British Isles, where they are worshipped 
even in our times. I shall only take a few interesting points 
out of the rich material. 

The testimonies of Diodorus and Strabo concerning 
cannibalism among the Irish is strengthened by St. Hierony- 
mus, who says in his writing, * Adversus lovinianum ' : * Quid 
loquar de ceteris nation! bus, cum ipse adolescentulus in Gallia 
viderim Scotos, gentem Britannicam, humanis vesci carnibus ? 
Et cum per silvas porcorum greges et armentorum pecudum- 
que reperirent, pastorum nates et feminarum et papillas 
solere abscindere et eas solas ciborum delicias arbitrari ? ' 
Nobody will contend that we can ascribe such customs to 
Indo-Europeans. An obscure memory of these times survives 

1 Cf. Munro, Prehist. Scotland, pp. 460, 480. 


still among the Celtic people, and we find in Wales and 
Scotland tales of giants and ghosts who ate their captives 
and drank their blood. Also the custom quoted by Strabo, 
that the old Irish devoured the corpses of their fathers we 
can hardly ascribe to the Celts. Even to-day we can trace 
the remains of this custom. 

Wood-Martin tells us that the custom, existing still in 
Ireland, of taking some food in presence of the dead body is 
but a form of the old custom of consuming food which had 
been laid on the corpse with the intention of transmitting to 
those doing so certain faculties of the departed one. I think 
it to be a survival of the old, barbaric custom of consuming 
the corpse itself. 

Schrader has proved that the idea of family must have 
been throughout an agnatic one in the primitive ages of the 
Indo-European people — the principle of relationship in the 
male line prevailed already in the common past of the Indo- 
Europeans, Therefore, if we can detect traces of matriarchy 
in the British Isles we must ascribe them to a pre-Celtic 

It has been fully proved by Zimmer that even in historic 
times matriarchy prevailed among the Picts of Scotland. At 
any rate the Picts possessed a large substratum of pre-Celtic 
blood. I think them to have been a non- Aryan race, soon 
however Celticised, first by the Gaels and then — but in a 
lesser degree — by the Britons. 

In Wales we can detect in the families of the Mabinogion 
traces of matriarchy, and many may also be found in Ireland. 
While among the Indo-European peoples it was the father 
who gave the first food to his child (what for India, the 
Grihya-Sutras of Apastamba and Hiranyakesin prove ^ and 
Speijer has proved in Yatakarma (p. 103 fF.) for the other 
Indo-European peoples), Solinus tells us that in Ireland it 
was the mother who gave to the new-born the first food, on 
the point of her husband's sword, with the wish that he might 
die only in battle. 

1 M. MuUer, Sacred Boohs of the East, xix. pp. 213, 281. 


A. Potter ('Description of West-Meath/ 1819) tells us 
that all married women are called by their maiden names, a 
custom still extant in Ulster. According to Wood-Martin, 
women in many English-speaking districts retain their maiden 
names and follow rather their mother's relations. 

The couvade, too, surely a non-Indo-European custom, is 
to be found all over the British Isles. In Ulster it was 
known in very olden times, for we read in the Book of 
Leinster that all men, with the exception of Cuchulainn, lay 
in their beds unable to fight when Queen Meave of Con- 
nacht made a progress to Ulster with her army. A preg- 
nant wife had cursed them, to suffer once a year the throes 
of women. 

In England also the couvade once existed, for in York- 
shire the mother of a girl who has borne an illegitimate child 
goes out to seek the seducer, and the first man she finds in 
his bed is held to be the child's father.^ 

Already for the Iberians matriarchy is not only proved, 
but also the couvade, which we find also among their de- 
scendants (?), the Basques. That would make it possible 
that there was some connection between the aborigines of 
the British Isles and the Iberians. Moreover we find this 
custom in Southern India, China, Borneo, Kamtchatka, 
Greenland, and among many tribes of North and South 

We have seen now, that the race of the aborigines of the 
British Islands had not been exterminated by the conquering 
Celts. It is also certain that it was not wholly suppressed, 
but that the conquerors intermarried very closely with their 
subjects. For even in the oldest times we find in Ireland 
no miserable plebs as in other countries conquered by Indo- 
Europeans. There were no castes, only different stages 
of society, and a family could easily, by acquiring fortune, 
rise from the lowest to the highest rank. 

There was perhaps rather an infiltration of the Celts 
than a real conquest, but perhaps we shall not be astray in 

^ The Academy, xxv. p. 112. 


seeking the reason of that fact in the great beauty and un- 
common loveliness of the women of the aborigines. The 
beauty of Celtic women is well known, as also the fact that 
they mostly have dark hair, which indicates apparently a 
non- Aryan origin. 

Among no other people is the * feminine ' of such import- 
ance as among the Celts. Their literature is given to the 
service of women. No literature has so many sweet love- 
stories as the Irish. 

' The absence of feminine interest in the earlier chansons de geste 
has often been noted. The case is different with Teutonic heroic 
literature, in which woman's role is always great, sometimes pre- 
eminently so. The love of man, and immortal, or, if mortal, semi- 
divine maid is a " constant " of heroic tradition. Teuton and Celt 
have handled this theme, however, in a very different spirit. In the 
legends of the former the man plays the chief part ; he woos, some- 
times he forces the fairy maiden to become the mistress of his hearth. 
As a rule, overmastered by the prowess and beauty of the hero, she 
is nothing loth. 

' It is otherwise with the fairy mistress of the Celtic hero ; they 
abide in their own place, and they allure or compel the mortal lover 
to resort to them. Connla and Bran and Gisin must all leave this 
earth and sail across ocean or lake before they can rejoin their lady- 
love; even Cuchulainn, mightiest of all heroes, is constrained, 
struggle as he may, to go and dwell with the fairy queen Faud, 
who has wooed him. Throughout, the immortal mistress retains 
her superiority; when the mortal tires and returns to earth she 
remains, ever wise and fair, ready to welcome and enchant a hero of 
a new generation. She chooses whom she will and is no man's slave ; 
herself she offers freely, but she abandons neither her liberty nor her 
divine nature. Even where the love-story passes wholly among 
mortals, the woman's r61e is more accentuated than in the Teutonic 
sagas. She is no mere lay figure upon a fire-bound rock, like 
Brunhild or Merglad, ready, when the destined hero appears, to fall 
straightway into his arms. The Celtic woman takes her fate in her 
own hand, and chooses herself the husband or makes him accept her 
conditions.' ^ 

* A. Nutt, Studies in the Legend of the Holy Grail, pp. 231-233 : London, 



In one of the most ancient Gaelic chronicles we read : — 

' But the fairest of the women who came into Erin with the sons of 
Milidh was Feale, the wife of Luaidh, who had lived alone in the 
western regions of Spain, in an inland valley, until she was wooed by 
Luaidh . . . and men said concerning Feale, that she was too beautiful 
to live.' 

But the Irish historians called by the name ' Milesians/ 
or * Sons of Milidh/ the non- Aryan, dark-haired and dark- 
eyed Irish race, w^hich on account of their complexion they 
thought to be immigrants from Spain. 

All this makes it possible that the aborigines had 
influenced the Gaels very strongly, but before we can 
assume with probability such a great religious influence we 
must try to find out some analogy for such a fact. 

The aborigines of the British Isles stood, as we have seen, 
on a very low level of culture — they were savages. We shall 
first investigate what ideas one savage people receives from 

' Everything new is apt to excite the awe and dread of the savage. 
So the unusually heavy rains, which happened to follow the English 
survey of the Nicobar Islands in the winter of 1886-1887 were im- 
puted by the alarmed natives to the wrath of the spirits at the 
theodolites, dumpy-levellers, and other strange instruments which 
had been set up in so many of their favourite haunts.' ^ 

Naturally the savage thinks foreign land to be enchanted 

' Among the Ovambo of South-Western Africa in time of war the 
chief names a general who leads the army to battle. Next to the 
general the highest place in the army is occupied by the " omunene 
u oshikuni,' that is, the owner of the firewood, who carries a burning 
brand before the army on the march. If the brand goes out, it is an 
evil omen, and the army returns. In that case the fire borne at the 
head of the army may have been intended to dissipate the evil 
influences, whether magical or spiritual, with which the air of the 
enemy's country might be conceived to teem.' 2 

1 The Golden Bough, i. p. 347. 2 jjji^^ ^ 395^ 


All the more the savage believes the inhabitants of 
another country to be sorcerers, especially if these are of an 
alien and less civilised race. We not only detect the same fear 
among savages but also among peoples of a higher culture. 
In the Ongtong Java Islands strangers, when they land on 
the islands, are first of all received by the sorcerers, sprinkled 
with water, anointed with oil, etc. Only after they have 
been * disenchanted' can they be introduced to the chiefs 

It is also known that the Hindus despise the non-Aryan 
aborigines as unclean, but that they fear them on the other 
hand, as they consider the Parias to be in possession of secret 
magic arts and to be associated with the old gods of the 

It is then very probable that the conquering Gaels thought 
the aborigines were beings endowed with supernatural powers, 
who possessed great knowledge of the secrets of nature. 

How many superstitions are connected with the so-called 
fairy-arrows (the arrow-heads of flint which the pre-Celtic 
aborigines used during the Stone Age) among the Celtic popu- 
lation of Great Britain and Ireland. Perhaps these supersti- 
tions go back to the time when the Celts were fighting with 
a people who used flint-weapons and were then already feared 
as endowed with supernatural powers. Another belief con- 
nected with iron may also be quoted. 

Iron is said to possess the power of keeping off* bad spirits. 
In the north-east of Scotland after the death of an inmate 
of the house a bit of iron is put into all victuals, in order 
that the * death may not enter them.' ^ In many Welsh 
fairy-tales a fairy abandons her lover in the moment when 
he touches her with iron.^ On the Western Isles of Scotland 
it is said that every one who enters a knoll where the fairies 
are dancing must leave a bit of iron on the threshold, for 
only in this way is he able to prevent the fairies from closing 
the door and keeping him as a prisoner for ever. 

1 The Golden Bough, p. 303. 

2 W. Gregor, Folklore of the North-East of Scotland, p. 206. 
' Transactions of the Hon. Society of Cymmrodar, vi. p. 2. 


This fear of ghosts seems to be a heritage of the aborigines, 
who did not know metals, and may often have yielded to the 
better weapons of the Celts. The savage aborigines of a 
country appear very often in the later popular superstitions 
as ghosts, giants, or dwarfs. 

Of course the Celts felt especial reverence for the 
medicine-men of the aborigines, the Druids, for they observed 
how these were dreaded by their countrymen. Among savage 
tribes the king develops mostly out of the sorcerer, who can, 
as they believe, inflict misfortune and death. The Gaels, full 
of admiration, called these magicians * Druides,* the very wise 

The true character of the Druids was that of mighty 
sorcerers, and entirely contradicts that of an Indo-European 
priest. In Ireland, which was least exposed to foreign in- 
fluence, we can most probably hope to find Druidism in its 
original form. They appear to us there chiefly as magicians 
and sorcerers. They change the day into night, wind and 
wave obey their orders, they pour down fire and blood. 
Such ideas, that man has power over the elements, we 
only find among savage peoples who do not possess the 
idea of the * supernatural.' That the Druids were physi- 
cians is closely connected with their profession as sorcerers, 
as is also their prophetic faculty. So strong is their power 
that even St. Patrick prays to God that He may protect him 
against the incantations of the Druids. In the old Irish 
literature the word * drui ' is always used synonymously with 
* magus,' and in the neo- Celtic languages the word for Druid 
signifies ' sorcerer.' 

* The Druids are sorcerers and rain-doctors, who pretend to call 
down the storm and the snow, and frighten the people with the 
fluttering wisp and other childish charms. They divined by the 
observation of sneezing and omens, by their dreams after holding a 
bull-feast or chewing raw horseflesh in front of their idols, by the 
croaking of their ravens and chirping of tame wrens, or by the cere- 
mony of licking the hot edge of bronze taken out of the rowan-tree 
faggot. They are like the Red Indian medicine men, or the Angekoks 


of the Eskimo, dressed up in buU's-hide coats and bird caps with 
waving wings.' ^ 

It was probably in the Highlands of Scotland north of the 
Grampians that the aborigines maintained their independence 
the longest time, and therefore preserved best the institution of 
the Druids as sorcerers, for we read that all who wish to learn 
very exactly the wicked art of sorcery set out for Scotland. 
Also Pliny the Elder tells us that Britain was ill-famed on 
account of its magic, and from the report of Tacitus of the 
destruction of the isle of Mona we perceive clearly that the 
Druids were sorcerers. 

But how does it happen that they are painted by the 
writers of the antiquity as also philosophers, as teachers of 
pure ethics ? 

In Gaul Druidism was not founded upon birth, but upon 
the engagement and training of novices. Also in Ireland 
we find the Druids as teachers of the youth, and of the 
Druid Cathbad it is expressly stated that he taught his 
pupils the Druidic science (druidecht). From that we 
assume as certain that among the aborigines a transference 
of the magic art also took place by initiation and instruction. 

Where the Gaels came into friendly terms with them 
they certainly were anxious to partake of that instruction, 
and we find in Ireland no distinct Druidic caste ; but we 
know of poets who were Druids, also of some kings — e.g. the 
grandfather of the famous Irish national hero Finn and the 
father of King Connor were members of that priesthood. So 
the Druids grew by time to be a Gaelic institution, and the 
priestly power of the king was transferred to them, so that 
they had finally the highest rank after him ; there was even 
a rule that the king should not speak in the presence of his 
Druid before the latter had spoken. 

An obscure memory of the time when the Druids were 
the magicians of a hostile race can be detected in the Celtic 
myths which tell us that the magic power of the Druids had 
been so great that they won even the victory over the gods 

^ Lectures, O'Carry, who gives also another explanation. 


— a notion that on the one side reminds us of the * Schaman/ 
on the other side can be easily understood if we take into 
consideration that the Druids originally, as sorcerers of the 
aborigines, were hostile not only to the Celts but also to 
their gods. We have also often a curious antagonism to 
note between the Druids and the Celtic gods which is easily 
explained in such a way (cf ' Echtra Condla '). 

No wonder that the Gaelic poet-prophets (for the Celts 
had also their own prophets) looked at the new rivals with 
jealous eyes — a jealousy ending finally with the abolition of 
the Druids in Ireland, for when St. Patrick introduced Chris- 
tianity into Ireland he found in the Druids his greatest 
enemies whom he could only vanquish by uniting himself 
with the 'filid' (637, Battle of Moyrath). 

It is not strange that the more highly civilised Celts 
deemed the priests of the aborigines great sorcerers; we 
find among the Germans something analogous. 

' The Finns, who occupied in the past ages a great part of the 
Scandinavian peninsula, were deemed by the conquering Germans 
as endowed with magical powers, so that the old Norse finngerd 
(literally, a Finn's work) is used for " sorcery," and also in their own 
religion the priest-sorcerer, the "Schaman," who is the mediator 
between men and gods, and even by his arts compels the latter to 
serve him, occupies the foremost place.' ^ 

Is it too rash to assume that the aborigines of the 
British Isles had a culture similar to that of the Finnic- 
Lappic tribes ? Similar primitive conditions produce similar 
cultures, and J. F. Campbell, a prominent connoisseur of 
Finnic antiquity, was so struck by the surprising similarity 
of many ancient Scottish dwellings with those of the Finns 
that he did not hesitate to declare that the aborigines of the 
British Isles were a people related to the Finns ; and, though 
a primitive Iberian population seems very possible, I have 
come to the opinion that there may have been also a Finnish 
race on British soil. 

When the Gaels sent their sons to be initiated into the 

^ R. Much, Deutsche StammesJcunde, p. 31. 
VOL. V. B 


teaching of the Druids, they did not forget their own Indo- 
European religion, and the same thing took place among the 
Gauls, who conquered Britain several hundred years later, 
and adopted Druidism from the inhabitants of the country 
as the Gaels had taken it from the aborigines. In such a 
way we can easily explain the strange contrast of noble and 
mean doctrines which we detect among the Druids. If 
Pliny the Elder painted the Druids only as magicians and 
priests of the oak, he therewith told to his contemporaries 
something new : their noble doctrines had been well known 
long before. 

We have also elsewhere sufficient examples of a noble 
religion tolerating the old, crude faith. We can observe till 
to-day, in Catholic countries, the feast of Adonis ; and the 
Church tolerates the old, pagan midsummer and harvest 
customs, and we may safely assume that in the British Isles 
the pre-Celtic faith existed under the dominion of the Celts. 

Andrew Lang quotes, in his Custom and Myth, an 
example of a similar toleration which is related to us by 
Gercilasso de Vega, the son of a Spanish conqueror and an 
Inka princess : — 

* In the pre-Inca period an Indian was not accounted honourable 
unless he was descended from a fountain, river, or lake, or from a 
wild animal ; but there was not an animal, how vile and filthy soever, 
that they did not worship as a god. But when the Inca appeared 
and sun-worship became the established religion, worship of the 
animal was still tolerated, and the sun-temples also contained images 
of the beasts which the Indians had venerated.' 

But I think I have found a sure argument that 
Druidism took its origin in the British Islands, and was not 
brought thither by the Celts. 

Pliny the Elder describes the Gaulish Druids as priests of 
the oak-worship, wherein also the mistletoe plays a prominent 
part. The worship of the oak can be certainly proved to be 
of Indo-European origin. This is so well known that it is 
unnecessary to prove it specially. Max. Tyrius says, more- 
over, that the Celts worshipped Zeus under the image of an 


oak. In a word, we find the Druids as priests of an Indo- 
European religion. 

But if the Celts had had Druids who were already priests 
of the oak before the occupation of the British Islands, they 
certainly would have brought that worship with them to 
Ireland. For in ancient times Ireland was very rich in oak 
woods, and we can trace yet over thirteen hundred place- 
names which begin with * doire, daire* (oakwood). Angli- 
cised ' derry,' not to speak of the other compositions. The 
name of the oak occurs in many more names of places than 
that of any other tree.^ 

How strange must it seem to us, then, that we so seldom 
hear of the oak in the rich, traditional literature of the Irish. 
I know no Irish superstition connected with the oak, and the 
Irish Druids are never mentioned in connection with the oak. 
Their holy tree is the yew, and they bear in their hands 
wands made of that wood. Also the Druidic fire is kindled 
with the wood of the yew. 

That strange fact, that the oak plays no part in the life 
of the Irish Druid and a very small one in the popular super- 
stition can be explained only if we assume that the Druids 
were originally the priests of a people who did not know the 
oak worship. 

The Gauls who had remained in their own country were 
much less influenced by the pre-Celtic population of Britain 
than the Gaels, and retained, therefor-e, besides the new 
Druidical faith, the old customs of their Indo-European 

We perceive, then, that the Druids must have been once 
the priests of a people who did not know the worship of the 
oak. But the oak- worship of the Celts is vouched for several 
times, therefore the Druids cannot have been originally a 
Celtic priesthood. We know also that Druidism took its 
origin in the British Islands, and it can only have originated 
among the people who occupied those countries before the 
Celts. We have seen that such a people existed on the 

1 Joyce, Irish Names of Places^ 3rd ed., p. 487. 


British Islands and that they were a people powerful enough 
to influence strongly the conquering Celts ; we know also 
that it is possible, and it has often happened, that a people 
of a lower stage of culture has influenced the religious 
beliefs of a more highly civilised one. 

Besides, Druidism shows so many non-Indo-European 
features that we must for that reason alone seek the origin of 
its priesthood among a non-Indo-European people. 

We can, therefore, assert with somewhat of certainty that 
Druidism originated in a people who inhabited the British 
Islands before the Celts, and who were probably related to 
those great races who occupied Western and Southern (or 
Northern ?) Europe long before the first Indo-European set 
his foot there. ^ 


Professor Mackinnon 

II. Poems hitherto unpublished. 

{Continued from vol. iv. p. 305) 

The following poems, now printed for the first time, are 
all, with the exception of the last, political poems and 
satires. They are of like character with those of the same 
class published by the author in 1751. Whether the poet, 
had he himself printed them, would have changed these in 
anyway, as he changed, e.g., * The Ark' and ^ Thearlaich 
Mhic Sheumais, it would be bootless to inquire. There is no 
heading or title to any of them, but the stanzas are for the 
most part consecutively numbered. The Satires, it will be 
observed, are fierce denunciations of Hanoverians in general, 
but especially of the Campbells who devastated the forfeited 
lands of Moydart and the neighbourhood, and of a lady of the 

* A recent stay in Ireland has confirmed my opinion as to the pre-Celtic popula- 
tion. I found traces of two distinct pre-Celtic races ; the one with beautiful Euro- 
pean features, probably Iberian, the other similar in appearance to the Samojeds, 
perhaps cognate with the Finnic-Lappic races. Druidism originated first, probably, 
among the latter. 



clan, the daughter of Black Duncan Campbell, a well-known 
Notary of the time. 

This lady composed, in 1745, a poem which has not sur- 
vived, but which, as we gather from these Satires, called in 
question the legitimacy of Prince Charles Stuart, referred 
contemptuously to his followers as Prasgan nan Garhh- 
chrioch, and spoke disparagingly of the gentle Lochiel. The 
composition naturally gave great offence to the Jacobites, and 
Macdonald again and again attacks the authoress in the same 
scurrilous manner in which he vilified the Aigeannach, whom 
he links with this lady in one of his verses. Miss Campbell, 
it appears, wrote to the poet, who replied in filthy quatrains, 
which the editor of the Glasgow edition of 1839 got hold of 
somehow, and printed. These verses are not now in this MS. 
if they ever were. Miss Campbell at this time kept an inn 
in Oban, locally known as Tigh Clach a' Ghedidh, of which 
Mr. Duncan M* Isaac, who remembers the quaint building 
before it was pulled down some fifty years ago, has supplied 
me with interesting references. She afterwards married and 
lived for a time at Barr in Morvern, and subsequently in 
Craignish, where she died, about the age of seventy. 

Duncan Kennedy, schoolmaster of Kilmelford, but better 
known as a collector of Ossianic Ballads, published in 1786 
a collection of Hymns, now a very rare volume, which was 
reprinted about 1834. Kennedy gives six hymns by Bean a* 
Bharra, as he calls this lady, in his collection, which show a 
gift of smooth versification and apt imagery. According to 
him, Macdonald's unworthy attack silenced the authoress's 
secular muse for ever ; otherwise we should have had another 
Gaelic poetess fit to rank with, if not even to excel, Mary 
Macleod of Skye, or Mairi Send, as Mairi NighJn Alastair 
Ruaidh was, Kennedy says, frequently called. 

It is perhaps worthy of mention that in connection with 
this lady Macdonald added a word to the Gaelic vocabulary. 
In * The Ark ' he speaks of her as Osdag mhi-narach an Ohain. 
In the MS. version the original epithet was headag, but the 
word was deleted, and dsdag written on the margin. In the 


old Gaelic monasteries the doorkeeper or caretaker was called 
dsdair, a loan from the Latin ostiarius. A tradition has come 
to us that this functionary in Columba's day somehow offended 
the saint, who cursed him, and as a consequence the Clann- 
an-Osdair in lona were fated never to exceed eight in number 
at any one time. The name disappeared in lona long ago. 
In course of time dsdair came to mean ' hotel-keeper,' and from 
this word Macdonald formed the feminine diminutive dsdag 
which he applied to Miss Campbell. It was evidently con- 
sidered somewhat unbecoming for the notary's daughter to 
keep an inn, for while the poet always harps upon the fact, 
Kennedy does not allude to this episode in the lady's life. 

Several words and clauses in the MS., especially at the ends 
of lines, and in one or two cases at the beginning of lines, are 
now illegible, and are of necessity omitted. In other cases 
whole lines, and even whole quatrains, are suppressed for quite 
a different reason. It is unfortanatelv the case that this 
truly great poet wrote and published much that ought never 
to have been composed, much less printed. Vulgar, even 
coarse, words and figures of speech may be tolerated, but the 
obscene must be excluded. In a few instances where from the 
semi-phonetic orthography a word was not quite clear to me, 
a transliteration of the MS. is given. 

As formerly stated, the MS. opens abruptly on p. 118 in the 
middle of Agus ho Mhorag. The opening quatrains of Ho 
TO, mo bhohug an dram follow on pp. 120-1. Then there is 
a gap, pp. 122-30 being awanting. Thereafter, on p. 131, 
comes the concluding portion of a fine patriotic poem as 
follows : — 

Nach goirid bho 'n a ghabh sinn air 

Eoin Cop am Prestonpans, 

Le ceithir mile coisiche 

'S na bha de mharc-shluagh ann; 

Le ochd ceud deug militia 

De smior nan Gaidheal m6r, 

Gu'n mharbh sinn is gu'n ghlac sinn iad 

Le basgar ^ chlaidhimh mh6ir. 

* Of. Poems, p. 38 : basgar shionnsair. 


'San Eaglais Bhric gu'n theich iad bhuainn 

Le maoim a bha ro mhor ; 

An infantri 's na h-eich a bh' ann 

Le geilt nach biodh iad be6 ; 

Ghlac teasach gharbh is ^anic iad 

Ro 'r lannan a bha geur ; 

Thilg iad an airm 's an anam bhuath', 

'S na h-airm dh' anacladh iad fein. 

Och ! 's iomadh bl^r an airmhinn-sa 
A ghraisg ud a bhi fann, 
Na'n cunntamaid a suas air n-ais 
An seana chleachdadh bh' ann ; 
Gur h-ann diubh la Bhanocburn, 
An d' thug sinn deannal cruaidh ; 
'S latha Ghoille-chragaidh sin 
'N do chnag sinn iad d'an uaigh. 

reisimeidean Thearlaich sin ! 

Dluth tharlamaid 'n ar ranc ; 

Gu claidhmheach, sgiathach, caismeachdach, 

'S ar brataichean ri 'r crann : 

Ar crochadh is ar creachannan, 

'S cur dhinn air bhloc nan ceann, 

Thugmaid mach ar n-aichemheil, 

So an cleachdadh riamh a bh'ann ! 

fuigheall arm tha maireann dinn ! 
Dliith-charaicheamaid suas, 
Le misnich mhdir 's le barantas, 
Ar n-earraig thugmaid bhuainn : 
La run nach tionndaidh sinn ar ciil 
Ri 'r biudhannan gu brath. 
! togamaid le oighre chruin, 
So 'n aon uair gu bheil da. 

Nach nar dhuit fein mar thachair dhuit, 

O Albainn bhochd tha truagh ? 

Gann \kn an duirn de Gh^idhealaibh 

Fhagail ri h-uchd buailt' ! 

Nach sumain thu do chruadal m6r, 

Shliochd Sc6ta sin nan lann ? 

'S dioghlamaid air muinntir Dh^ors', 

Fuil phrionnsail mh6r nan Clann ! 


O ! 'n adhlaic sibh an di-chuimhne 

'N seana chruadal m6r a bha 

An dualchas dhuibh bho'r sinnsearachd, 

Le 'n d'f huair sibh riamh na blair 1 

O ! togaibh suae gu h-innsgineach 

'Ur n-inntinnean gu h-ard, 

Nach sinn air bheagan mhiltean leinn 

A thug leinn f hin Harl^ ? i 

Nach d'fhairtlich air na Caesaraibh 
Buaidh gheur-lann fhaotainn 6irnn ? 
'S am maith sinn do na beistibh ud 
Gu leag iad fein ar str6n 1 
O ! eiribh suas neo-eislinneach, 
Le 'r geur-lannaibh 'n 'ur dorn, 
Sgriosaibh as gach reubalach, 
A dh' eireas le Righ Deors' ! 

Ghaidhealtachd ! ma's cadal duit, 
Na fuirich fad^ ad shuain ; 
Guidheam ort, na lagadh ort, 
'S do chliii 'ga shladadh bhuait. 
Och ! mosgail suas gu h-aigeantach, 
Le fearg ad lasair ruaidh ; 
'S c6mhdaich an aon bhaiteal daibh, 
Nach do bhogaich dad de d' chruaidh. 


There follows, immediately after, on p. 134, the following 
fragment of a waulking song, with its swinging chorus, a fit 
companion to the famous Agus ho Mhdrag : — 

Oganaich uir a' chuil teudaich ! 
'S oil learn eudach a bhi dhith ort. 

Hiig air dh Mhic Gille-Mhlcheil I 

hiigaibh hiig-a-ri-hug ! 

Hiig air dh Mhic Gille-Mhlcheil I 

Gu'n chuir Albainn cl6 am beairt duit, 
'S 'nuair thig e aist'^ cha bi an t-sith i ! 
Hiigj etc., etc. 

Bidh e fighte, cumta, luaidhte, 
Ma's tig oirnn buain na Feille-Micheil ! 
Hiig, etc., etc. 

^ Usually Cath Gaireac^j ' The Battle of Garioch,' in Gaelic poetry. ^ MS. as. 


Gheibh mise culaidh gu shuathadh, 
Ma tha gruagaichean 's an rioghachd. 
Hug J etc., etc. 

Gu'm bi do chlo ruadh-sa luaidhte, 
Le gaorr, full, is f ual 'ga stiopadh % 
Hug, etc., etc. 

Here comes the second gap in the MS. On p. 143 the 
text opens abruptly with the concluding part of another 
poem, as follows : — 

An t-aodach b6idheach, b6sdail, dreachmhor 
A thoirt bhuainn air son mutan casaig ; 
'S bochd 's is truagh a' chuis ma thachras, 
A bhi 'n ar traillibh aig fearaibh Shasuinn. 

Na na mhealadh mise casag, 

No mo ch6ta gearr de'n tartan, 

Mur h-'eil mi toileach a dhol 'g an sracadh, 

Chartadh Dhe6rsa Hanobher dhachaidh. 

Na na mhealadh mi mo leine. 

Gad 's i 's blaithe th' orm de m' ^ideadh, 

Mur h-'eil mi sanntach a dhol 'g an speiceadh, 

A dh' fh6gradh Dhedrsa, 's a chrunadh Sheumais. 

Na na mhealadh mi mo bhreacan, 
M'uile mhaoin, mar sin 's mo phearsa, 
Mur h-'eil mi toileach an iobradh 'n ceart uair, 
An aobhar an righ 's a' cheartais. 

Na na mhealadh mi mo ghdirseid, 
'N daga, bhiodag, 's an claidheamh m6r-sa, 
Mur h-'eil mi toileach a dhol leo ch6mhrag, 
A dh' fhuadach Uilleam gu grunnd Hanobher. 

An t-anam fein ge geur ri r^dh e, 

Na na mhealadh mise raith e, 

Mur h-'eil mi toileach le riin chairdean, 

A dhol 'g a sgiachdadh an aobhar Thearlaich. 

Och mo dheideag a dh' fhearaibh saoghalta ! 
Freasdail oirnne is tog a' chaonnag ; 
'S na dean fardal teachd le d' dhaoine, 
Mu'n toirear dhinne an t-arm 's an t-aodach. 


'S ^iridh sinne gu sunndach, gleusda, 
Muirneach, luthmhor, runach, leumnach, 
Gu foirmeil gasda, gu tartar feuma, 
Le 'r lannaibh sgaiteach gu sracadh rebels. 

Eiridh sinne le combaigh le6mhann, 
'N uair bhiodh acras geur gu f e6il orr' ; 
Sinn cho sgairteil gu sgrios nan Dedrsach, 
'S lasair bhras nam fraocb-chnoc mdinteach. 

Eiridh sinne le fior-run cosgair, 

An comhlan gleusda nach euradh ^ prosdaidh, 

Ri h-uchd feuma na trein nacb closadh, 

Ri lanna bheumnadh gu deanamh chorp dhiubh. 

Eiridh sinne le feum-chrith feargach, 

Mar mhiol-choin shanntach ar chonn-taod sealgair ; 

Sinn gu prionnsail, muirneach, fearrdha, 

Gu cuirp a ghearradh is cinn a spealgadh. 

Bidh sinn cruaidh mar bhalla praise, 
Nach dean ruadh-shluagh a chaoidh ar sgknradh ; 
'S anns gach ruaig le'r bualadh chl^i'ean 
Bidh gach buaidh le Clanna Ghaidheal. 

Och ! thig a ghraidh, mu'n cinn sinn miota, 
Seal mu'n caill sinn gu leir ar misneach ; 
Fheadh 's a bhitheas ar cri' 'n ar crioslaich, 
'S leatsa, ghaoil, ar fios gun fhios sinn. 


Immediately follows on pp. 145-6 six unworthy qua- 
trains addressed to the Oban poetess, of which the only 
quotable one is the second last : — 

Chladh thu t' fhuil is t' fhe6il is t' igh riu, 
Le d' dhiombais, a dhearg bhana-bheist, 
An col tolas memento mori, 
Ceann gun fhe6il, gun eanaraich. 

Then comes (pp. 146-8) this rousing appeal : — 

'S eutrom, uallach, mear, 
Eirigh nan uile fhear, 

Eibhinn, aigeannach, sunndach; 
'S gleusda gach Gaidheal glan, 
Eileadh 's cocM geal, 

^ MS. herigh. 


A' marsal gun airsneal le 'm Prionnsa ; 
Le 'n claidheamh 's le 'n sgiathaibh 
Air am breacadh gu ciatach, 

Le 'n dagachaibh iaruinn 's le 'n cuinnsear ; 
Mise chathadh n' an aodainn, 
Eoinn, falluinn, is faobhar, 

Gu claignean a sgaoileadh is rumpuill. 

! togaibh gu sgairteil grad ; 
Sguiribh d'ur siomh mar ghad,^ 

r6graibh bhuaibh fadal is lunndachd ; 
UUamh mar pheileir dag, 
No fudar do theine snaip, « 

T^irnibh 'n 'ur f eachdannan grunndail ; 
'S air Uilleam chinn clilodaich,^ 
A ghineadh le cocuill, 

Air dioghaltas cogail nach briichd sibh ? 
'S cuiribh ar na sheasas 
De reubalaibh leis-san, 

'Gan toUadh, g' an leadairt, 's 'g strumpadh. 

! 's truagh an car, 

Bhi d' ur n-eileadh 's d' ur n-ar,^ 

D' ur armaibh 'g 'ur faileadh 's 'g 'ur riisgadh. 
Ma mhaitheas sinn so, 
Cho luaithe ri roth, 

Nitear trailleagan uile d' ar diithaich : 
Gu'n lomar mar ghiadh sinn 
A spionar 's a' chistinn, 

'S gu'n sparrar oirnn brigis mar mhiitan ; 
Gach aodach is tartan, 
Gu feannar sinn asda, 

'S gu'n sparrar oirnn casag gu biiirt oirnn. 

! 's mise gu mol, 
Sibh a mhosgladh le toil, 

'S as 'ur cadaltachd shomalta diisgadh ; 
Gun fh^rdal le for,* 
Sibh a dh' 6irigh le goil, 

Gu dion 'ur seann sonais 's 'ur duthchais : 
Sin eiridh leibh Albainn 
Gu calma 's gu h-uile, 

* Cf. siomaguad, * evasion, subterfuge.' — Armstrong. ^ Reading doubtful. 

3 =land (?). * ='heed,' 'attention' (Outer Isles). 


'S gheibh sibh t^bhachd air n-ais gu fior-chliiiiteach, 
Anns gach sgannail fior-dhosgach 
A fhuair sibh 'n Cuilodair, 

Bho choltas breun-phoca do Dhuitseach. 

donasan esan ! 

Cha d'rinn e riamh seasamh, 

Bho 'n a rinn ceart dhleasdanas buidsear 
Ach maoim agus teicheadh, 
Anns gach laraich 'g a f hreasdal 

'Ga bhualadh mar theasach 's a chrun air : 
Gu'm bi e mar Chain 
Na gheilt anns gach aite, 

'S a choguis toirt pl^igh agus sgiurs' air : 
'S mar a thachair do H6rod, 
'S d'a dhearbh-bhrathair Nero, 

Gu faigh e has eitidh bhios bruideil. 

! Chlanna bha bras, 
Riamh nach robh tais, 

Am maith sibh do rascalaibh btiirt oirbh 1 
Fhineachan gasda, 
Cruinnichibh cas, 

'S faighmid air n-ais ar n-ainm cliuiteach : 
Cha'n 'eil am Breatann de chuideachd 
Na chuireas ruinn cluigean, 

Ach deanadh a bhuidrisg ar dusgadh, 
Na tha Ghaidealaibh arrant' 
Eadar Gallaibh is Arainn, 

'S na tha Jacobits Ghallach 's gach duthaioh. 

! fagaibh na th' ann, 
Mnathan is clann, 

Air lamhan an Dia dhiiilich ; 
Leanaibh g' a dion 
Standard an Righ, 

As leth Ghriosda le durachd ; 
'S na tr6igibh am feasd' i, 
Le biaif^ de dheserta^ 

Gus an cuir an t-Ard-easbuig a chrun air ; 
'S toillidh sibh beannachd 
Dhia, dhaoin', agus aingeal, 

'S bheir daoine mor cheannach is cliu dhuibh. 

^ Occasionally met with in the older language, *a blessing,' perhaps here 'a 
bribe.' From the Latin (beatus) beati. 


The following two short pieces (pp. 149-50) are on the 

same theme : — 

Coma mur an tig thu idir, 
Mur an tig thu nis a chlisgeadh ; 
Ar call 's ar sgainnir nach fidir, 
Thoir a nis a nis an ionnsuidh. 

Nach truagh leat fein mar thachras, 
Na saoidhean a bh' agad am Preston, 
A bhi toirt diubh an arm 's am breacan, 
Le prasgan a' bhuidseir. 

Ma tha comas duit ar fonn, 
Thig a nis 's thoir dhuinn cobh'r ; 
Chaoidh cha ghabh sinn tuilleadh souidh ^ 
Bho ghleadhar a fudair. 

Dioghlaidh sinn air cuilean Dhe6rsa, 
Na rinneadh oirnne de dh6-bheairt, 
Ma dh' fhoghnas claiginn a str6iceadh, 
'S an cuid t6n a sgiursadh. 

Ma dh' fhoghnas clai'ean a sparradh 
Annta gu ruig an smior chailleach ; 
Dh' aindeoin buirich an cuid canain, 
Bidh cuirp gheala riiisgte. 

Ni sinn fuil is gaorr a fhdidreadh, 
Ni sinn cogadh le \kn dtirachd ; 
'S gheibh sinn tuarasdal mar's fiti sinn, 
Dh' aindeoin biird luchd tiinnsgail. 


O togamaid 6irnn thar uisge 's thar tuinn ! 
O falbhmaid thairis gu Tearlach ! 
Na miotaichibh idir an ionad nam bonn, 
O seolamaid f onn'or gu Tearlach ! 

Mur tig thu gu tra 's gu f6irinn thu 6irnn, 
Le neart, le st6ras, 's le clai'ean, 
Fannaichidh sinne le foirneart cruaidh Dhedrsa, 
'S cha'n fhearr do chlann ch6ir na na traillean. 

Ged thug iad bhuainn na bh' againn fo sgriob, 
De dh' airgiod, de ni, is de dh' airneis ; 
Cha tug iad f6s dinn ar misneach 's ar cli, 
Gu bheil sinn cho rioghail 's a b' ^bhaist ! 

1 From the old verb sdim, 'I twin' (?). 


O ! deanamaid ullamh, a mhuinntir an High, 
Gu'm buaileamaid buillean le T^arlach ; 
'S mur an tig esan gu'n teid sinn a nunn, 
'S e thighinn gu sunndach a b' fh^arr leinn ! 

Mo mhallachd air gealltair a chrubas le miotachd, 
Le gn^ de dhi-misnich no fMllinn, 
No threigeas a chreideamh, a dhuthaich, no Righ, 
'S nach taisbean a dhilseachd do The^rlach ! 

! fhuair sibh bhuam b^irlinn is deanaibh dhith feum, 
'S theirgibh 'n 'ur n-6ideadh gu d^icheil ; 
Tha Tearlach a' tighinn le cabhlaeh garbh, treun, 
A bheir air na beistibh adbhansa ! 

'S ged tha sibh gun airm, gun aodach, gun spreidh, 
Gu faigh sibh bhuaith' fhein gach aon se6rsa, 
A dh' fheumas 'ur cuirp 's 'ur n-anam gu feum, 
Gus an dean sibh a' bh6ist ud fh6gradh ! 


{To be continued.) 



Lauchlan Maclean Watt 

The influence of landscape on the mind has much to do with 
the complexion which the superstitions of a people take upon 
them, — the histories and struggles of a race fill up the blank, 
and the natural readiness of the soul to seek for and accept 
any explanation for events and appearances completes the 
picture. But, foolish though many of the old things seem to 
us, they would all be found, I believe, to have an actual 
origin in some fact, obscure, overgrown, and forgotten now, 
yet having once a real moulding influence on human life long 
ago in the mists. 

The Celt was especially sad over the terrible superstition 
which made death in childhood, occurring before baptism, a 
thing of fear even till this day. The little ghosts were sup- 


posed to be homeless and nameless, and when the wind crept 
moaning through the heath at night, or the leaves came 
scurrying through the dark, it was the wandering souls of 
the unchristened seeking the old paths. 

list to the moan of the wind along the street,— 
How it sighs by the eaves, 
And whirls the leaves 

Like listeners, all surprised ; 
Ah, no 1 it is only the homeless feet 

Of the little ones unbaptized. 

They whimper and wail by the darkened door of home. 
With sorrow blind, 
They cannot find 

A rest in all the world. 
Like wind-blown birds of the driving foam 
Along the darkness hurled. 

list to the cry of the wind along the street ! 
How the mothers wake. 
And fond hearts break, 

With longings agonised. 
For they hear the beat of the homeless feet, 
Of their lost one's unbaptized. 

Weeping like wearied pilgrims all the way, 
They drift by the door, 
And Love grows sore, 

To rise, and open free, 
And lo ! there is only the night-mist gray. 
And the sorrowing of the sea. 

Many a sore heart was darkened and broken by the cruel 
thought of such a final separation. Such a superstition was 
like the bitterness of hell. 

The Celt, especially, was always impressed by the unknown 
and invisible, and his interpretation of the mysterious, silent, 
and weird has given much of the glamour to the poetry of 
England. What can appeal to you so much in an old grave- 
yard as the quiet feeling of patient waiting ? Silently you 
sit among the quiet slabs, — the stillness becomes expect- 
ancy, and you feel the Celt was not far wrong when he 


thought of the last-buried sitting, waiting, and keeping vigil 
till the next grave is opened in the place. It is only less 
than a century since, in East Aberdeenshire, this was held 
as an article of belief. The scene when two funerals were 
approaching a graveyard was not at all seemly, each hurrying 
to be in before the other, so that the soul of the dead might 
have rest. Some must have a long watch. I think of Inis- 
hail in Loch Awe. What a vigil the last one must be having 
there ! Or * cnoc-an-aingeail,' Loch Alsh — there are not many 
laid to sleep there, in the shelter of the silent hills. 

sweet 's the dark, till dawning fair 

Bid all the stars grow pale. 
But are you not weary waiting there, 

watcher of Inishail 1 

Last of the dead in the grasses laid, 

What shades come wandering by, 
Where the low, green graves beside the waves. 

In deepening slumber lie ? 

And while you wait, thro' the crumbling gate 

Comes Love with softened tread, 
And looks in your face with the saddening grace 

Of glad days long since dead. 

Around your feet the fair and brave 

Sleep softly evermore, 
And through your dreams the whispering wave 

Sings old songs on the shore. 

Does the dim place fill, as night grows still. 

Do the sorrows of those that sleep 
Awake to be in the dark by thee. 

And with thee vigil keep ] 

What do the sighing waters sing, 

As they tremble along the strand 1 
What messages do the soft winds bring. 

Blown from the silent land ? 

Tired are many by life's sad gate. 

Where hopes and dreams grow pale. 
Not you alone, by low graves wait — 

O watcher of Inishail. 


Then the other old Celtic idea of the * Islands of the 
Dead ' is full of the deepest pathos and poetry. Away over 
the waters, beyond the mist, out from the bay, lay the islands 
where the souls of dead men passed when they were done 
with the body here. The land lay fair and still, and the 
waters were placid and restful as a slumber-song — and none 
of the mists and the sorrows trailed over those souls liberated, 
dwelling there. And often the voices on the low, dim, misty 
shore called the boatmen, and made them ferry shades unseen 
across the Dead Man's Ferry to the Islands of the Blessed, 
out beyond earth's sorrow, under the still night skies. 

Hark, how the lapping waves are falling, 

Falling, falling, with never a rest, 
And the night is full of voices calling. 

Calling over the ocean's breast. 

Nay, 'tis the voice of the seabirds crying. 

Wearily, drearily, thro' the night. 
And the waves and the winds with sleepless sighing, 

Yearn for the glimmer of morning's light. 

Never a seabird moaned so sadly. 

Never a sea-wind wailed so deep, 
Rise and follow the dead folks' holloa — 

Ferry them over to Islands of Sleep. 

We rise and go forth while the world is sleeping, 

We push the boat from the weary land ; 
But I hear by my side a voice of weeping. 

And a tear falls cold on my toiling hand. 

And the winds are hushed, not a wave is crooning. 
And there 's never a light in the heaven o'erhead, 

And the waters with wonder are dimly swooning, 
As we silently ferry the souls of the dead. 

Dim as a dream they rise before us — 

Islands of stillness, out in the night ; 
And awe, like the awe of the grave, steals o'er us, 

As we draw to the shore and the boat grows light. 

But who is it, passing me, bends above me. 
And lays on my brow a long, sorrowing kiss 1 

Oh, who now is wailing that seems to love me. 

Whose face when dawn wakens from earth I '11 miss 1 
VOL. V. C 


thou far away, whom I left on my pillow, 

When the fire burned low, and the dark was deep, 

heart of me, say, when night lay on the billow, 
Did I ferry you over to Islands of Sleep 1 

Life and love, sorrow and hope, and their chances, made 
the darkness and the mystery full of dreams like these. All 
the sounds of Nature had a meaning and a portent for the 
Celt. When spring came, and you heard the cuckoo's call,' it 
was a long journey that lay before you in the way you were 
then looking towards. 

Did the cuckoo's call ring o'er us, 

O brothers mine, most dear — 
Were we gazing all before us. 

And we did not hear] 

For there 's you across the ocean, 

And myself must wait and weep. 
And there 's you in quiet slumber, 

Where the grass grows deep. 

Sure there was a white ship sailing, 

Out across the sunny bay ; 
We could hear faint voices hailing. 

Where we stood that day. 

When the bird of spring was crying, 

You were looking to the West, 
Where the dear old dead were lying. 

In the glens at rest. 

And myself — what was I dreaming. 

That I now am left the last. 
Of the three who heard Spring calling. 

In the day long past ? 

This lay at the root of the matter — reminiscence, the 
power of the Gael, for above all men does his glance lie over 
his shoulder. The glamour and wonder of Celtic poesy are 
from dreams like these, till lonely places rise before him in 
crowded towns, with music of waters crooning on shores 

It 's back then, back — no matter where we be. 

Till the soul beholds the low, long shore, and hears the Western Sea. 



I will plat a roof of rashes 
For the low place of my sleeping, 
Where the wistful water plashes, 
Crooning, croodling, laughing, weeping; 
And the winds from Cruachan sweeping, 

Join their gladness and their wail. 
Till the angels' glory blinds me, 
And the long sleep comes and finds me, 
In the tangled grasses finds me, 

By the graves of Inishail. 

It is not easy to get away from these things, if the music 
of the West be in your blood. 

Far away in the mountains — far where the fathers lie, 

Who shall blame us if ever our hearts must roam, 

Hearing in towns the song of the waves that wash on the shores of Skye — 

Far away, where the West is waiting her children turning home ! 


Arthur Hughes 

[Continued from vol. iv. p. 313) 

The whole of this poetry, except perhaps a few imperfect 
stanzas, and words in stanzas, has, like the Laws, come down 
to us in the Welsh of a period later than that in which it 
claims to have been originally composed. It may be that it 
is mostly the work of this later period — the mediaeval — while 
it is also possible that in a different form a good deal of it, 
and certainly some of the basis of it, may have come down 
from an early period, being recast from time to time in the 
current Welsh by editors who wished to try and render it 
intelligible to their own day. The stanzas mentioned as ex- 
ceptions to this rule of editing show that the art of poetry 
exemplified in the compositions which have survived to us 
must be far older than the twelfth century. These obscure 
stanzas have been printed and translated several times. 
They are contained in the luuencus Codex at Cambridge, and 


are in the script of the Glosses of the ninth century, the 
spelling being perhaps that in use a little earlier. The 
easiest of them, which must suffice here as an example, runs 
thus in the spelling of the manuscript : — 

* Ni canu ni guardam ni cusam — henoid 

Get iben med nouel 
Mi am franc dam an pat el.' 

(* I will not sing, I will not laugh, I will not sleep to-night, though we 
should drink new mead, I and my frank around our pan.') 

In modern Welsh spelling : — 

* Ni chanaf, ni chwarddaf , ni chysgaf — heno 

Cyd yfem fedd neuell. 
Mi a'm ffranc am ein padell.' 

What it refers to must be left to conjecture. 


The most famous poem of our period is the * Gododin/ 
attributed to Aneirin Gwawdrydd or * Aneirin of the Flowing 
Song.' It is an heroic poem, which has to do with the battle 
of Catraeth — a place unknown, but somewhere in the 
southern half of Scotland — and the incidents connected 
therewith, purposing to relate, apparently, the adventures of 
the Uotadini^ or Guotodin, a tribe of Brythons or Welsh 
who occupied territory on the East Coast, south of the Firth 
of Forth. Turner describes this poem as so many * poetic 
memoranda of a disastrous conflict, penned by a friend who 
had witnessed its events, in all the confusion in which they 
had occurred,' rather *than a well- conceived and artfully- 
arranged series of individual conflicts like the poems of 
Homer.' In its original form, part at least of it probably 
reaches a good way back, a nucleus possibly even to the 
sixth century, to which time, in common with other poems, 

1 If 'Gododin' is derived from Uotadini it should be written Gododdin in 
modem Welsh, or Godothin in English, the th sounded as in thee. Both d and dd 
are written d in mediaeval Welsh MSS. ; the proper sound has to be guessed. 
Hence arises confusion. 



it is referred by tradition. This is rendered more likely 
when we remember that the sixth century was just such a 
time as would favour an outburst of national literature — a 
stirring time of war against the encroaching Saxons, when 
Welshmen banded together for defence, and first began to 
call themselves by the name ' Cymry ' or Compatriots. In 
any case, whatever the date of composition of the * Gododin,' 
it must have been before the twelfth century. * Its language 
retains ancient forms of words which, by comparison with 
the Glosses, carry us back to the ninth century. But 
whether the poem, as a whole, is a mediaeval version of a 
really old composition, or partly old, partly altered, and 
partly added to, is a subject too debatable, and too full of 
pitfalls to be pursued here. All that can be said with safety 
is that the composition is decidedly older than the manu- 
script, and that the meaning is often uncertain, not to say 
elusive.' ^ In fact, both the bard himself and his subject are 
extremely shadowy ; but apparently, in addition to what has 
been mentioned, he is trying to tell us that the Welsh of the 
North lost the battle through having the previous night 
indulged too freely in the ' new mead ' we heard about just 
now, and mourns 

* The souls of mighty chiefs untimely slain,' 

as Pope has it, so that the poem becomes one long elegy. 
Still, one wishes that Aneirin of the Flowing Song had him- 
self indulged less in that which ' maketh glad the heart of 
man ' ; he might then have been able to express himself 
somewhat more clearly. In justice, however, it should be 
said that scientific study of the old Welsh poetry — or indeed 
of anything Welsh — is only beginning ; we have not yet had 
the chance of understanding it. * The concentrated force, 
the vigour, the brevity, and the rushing impetuosity of a 
warlike poem like the " Gododin " can scarcely appeal to the 
reader until the difficulties of the language and the subject- 
matter have been cleared up.' ^ Hitherto this has not by any 

1 Dr. Gwenogvryn Evans. * Professor Anwyl. 


means been done; and some of what has been done tends 
rather to darkness than to light — indeed, perhaps, there is 
little in literature about which so much nonsense has been 
talked as the older Welsh poetry. 

Texts and translations of the * Gododin ' will be found in 
the Myvyrian Archaiology of Wales, and the editions of the 
Rev. John Williams (ab Ithel), Skene's Four Ancient Boohs 
of Wales, Stephens's work (Cymmrodorion Society, 1888), 
and Dr. Gwenogvryn Evans's Autotype Facsimile (Oxford, 
1900). The * Gododin ' poems are contained in the ' Book of 
Aneirin,' a manuscript written about 1250, now in the Free 
Library at Cardiff. 

The opening lines describe a warrior youth whose might 
was in advance of his years — ' greddf gwr oedd gwas ' — ' of 
a man's disposition was the youth,' reminding us of Vergil's 

' pulcher lulus 
Ante annos animumque gerens curamque uirilem.' 

(* Fair lulus, who had a soul beyond his years, and the thoughts of a 

* Beneath the thigh of the majestic youth,' says our 
poem, ' were steeds fleet and thick -maned ' : — 

* Ysgwyd ysgaf n llydan 
Ar bedrain main fuan, 
Cleddyfawr glas glan, 
Ethy aur a phan,' 

(*0n the flank of the slender-swift steed swung a broad, light shield. 
With bright blue sword the warrior rode, with golden spur and ermine.') 

These lines have been put into English verse : — 

* Of years though brief, the youthful chief 
Was nerved and armed for manly deed ; 
And for the field, his broad, light shield 
Hung on his swift and slender steed. 
Oh ! he was graceful to behold. 
With bright blue sword and spurs of gold.' 


Then comes the valour and the glory of the champions, 
while here and there leaks out the cause of defeat : — 

* Gwjr a aeth Gatraeth oedd ffraeth eu Uu, 
Glasfedd eu hancwyn a'u gwenwyn f u ; 
Trichant trwy beiriant yn catau, 
A gwedi elwch tawelwch fu.' 

(* The men who went to Catraeth were an eager host ; the blue mead was 
their feast, and also their bane. Three hundred with weapons went forth 
to the war ; but after joyful mirth there was silence.') 

Two are next named as having made too free with the 
mead horn : — 

' Bu tru o dynghedfen angen gywir 
A dyngwyd i Dudf wlch a Chyf wlch Hir ; 
Cyd yfen fedd gloyw wrth leu babir, 
Cyd fai da ei flas, ei gas bu hir.' 

(' Sad was the fate of just necessity 
Decreed to Tudfwlch and Cyfwlch the Tall ; 
Though they drank bright mead by lighted rushes, 
Though its taste was good, its eyil stayed long.') 

And so we hurry forward into the fight ; fiery descriptions, 
now of conflicts, now of chieftains : — 

' Ehagorai, tyllai trwy fyddinawr, 
Cwyddai bum pymwnt rhag ei lafnawr ; 
Rhufawn Hir ef roddai aur i allawr, 
A ched a choelfain cain i gerddawr.' 

('He would rush forward, he would bore his way through the host; a 
myriad fell before his blade. Roman the Tall was he, who gave gold to the 
altar, and gifts and fair rewards to the minstrel.') 

Now and then we have a touch of pathos : — 
*Llawer mam a' i deigr ar ei hamrant.' 
(' Many a mother with her tear upon her eyelid.') 

Later we are told how the bard was saved from prison by 
a friend, Ceneu, the son of Llywarch — perhaps Llywarch H^n, 


Aneirin's fellow-bard. ' Gorfoled Gogledd g^r a' i gorug/ 
says he, * Let the North give praise to the man who did it ' : — - 

* O nerth ei gleddyf claer e'm hamug, 
garchar anwar daear e' m dug, 
gy^e angeu, o angar dud, 
Ceneu fab Llywarch, ddihafarch ddrud.* 

(' By the strength of his own bright sword he saved me, 
From the cruel prison of earth he brought me ; 
From the place of death, from a hostile horde, 
Ceneu fab Llywarch, undaunted lord.') 

Cynon * of the gentle breast/ too, was there, a mighty 
warrior in his day : — 

' Ef lladdai oswydd ^ llafn llymaf, 
Mai brwyn yd gwyddynt rhag ei adaf.' 

('He smote enemies with the keenest blade; like rushes they fell before 
his hand.') 

And him the bard can hardly praise sufficiently : — 

* Mab Clydno glod hir, canaf — i ti 
O'r clod heb 6v heb eithaf.' 

('Son of Clydno of enduring fame, I will sing to thee praise without 
limit, without bounds.') 

Parts of the ' Gododin ' have been paraphrased by Thomas 
Gray : — 

* To Catraeth's vale in glittering row 
Twice two hundred warriors go. 
Flushed with mirth and hope they burn, 
But none from Catraeth's vale return 
Save Aeron brave and Conan strong 
(Bursting through the bloody throng), 
And I, the meanest of them all, 
That live to weep and sing their fall.' 

Llywarch Hen. 

The works of Llywarch H^n are full of pathos. A stern 
old warrior, he chafes against his old age, and mourns his sons 


fallen in battle and the chieftains of the day, singing sadly of 
winter and the storm, and his own long lost youth. Of all 
the early Welsh poets it is to the song of Llywarch Hen, 
perhaps, that the modern reader feels he can respond most 
readily. * His chief power lies in pathetic lamentation, and 
his elegies have many fine sentiments.'^ * It is not the 
sentimental and lachrymose melancholy supposed by some to 
be a peculiar attribute of the Celt that we find in these 
poems, but the deep and almost fierce lament of one to whom 
fair weather, youth, health, and good fortune were every- 
thing.'^ By many the poetry bearing his name is regarded 
as late, but the same vein runs through the whole, and it is 
evidently the work of the same person. It is also significant 
that so far as we know the forms of stanza employed — 
namely, the 'Warrior's Englyn' or * Warrior's Triplet,' 
appropriate to the song of the warrior bard — had become 
obsolete by the twelfth century. But these poems could 
not have been composed in the Old Welsh Period as they 
stand ; if composed in that period, they have been edited, 
and perhaps reconstructed, on their way down to us. 

Texts and translations of the works of Llywarch H^n will 
be found in the Myvyrian Archaiology, and in Skene's Four 
Ancient Books, the text mostly taken from the * Bed Book of 
Hergest,' a manuscript written in the last quarter of the 
fourteenth and the first quarter of the fifteenth century, now 
at Oxford. It received its name from having been bound in 
red, and from its former home, Hergest, in Herefordshire. 

One of the best known of the elegies attributed to Llywarch 
Hdn is that after his prince, Cynddylan, the seat of whose 
power seems to have been at Pen Gwern, or Uriconium, 
which was stormed by the West Saxons about 584, and 
Cynddylan slain. 

* Stafell Gynddylan ys ty wyll — heno, 

Heb dan, heb wely ; 
Wylaf wers, tawaf wedy. 

1 Thomas Stephens. " Professor Lewis Jones. 


* Stafell Gynddylan ys tywyll — heno, 

Heb dan, heb gerddau ; 
Dygystudd deurudd dagran. 

' Stafell Gynddylan a'm gwan — ei gweled, 

Heb doed, heb d4n ; 
Marw fy nglyw, byw fy hunan. 

* Stafell Gynddylan neud athwyd — heb wedd, 

Mae ym medd dy ysgwyd ; 
Hyd tra fu, ni bu doll glwyd.' 

(' The Hall of Gynddylan is dark to-night, without fire, without bed ; I 
shall weep a while, I shall then be silent. 

' The Hall of Gynddylan is dark to-night, without fire, without songs ; 
tears afflict the cheeks. 

' The Hall of Gynddylan pierces me to see it, without roof, without fire ; 
dead is my chief, myself alive. 

'The Hall of Gynddylan, thou art become without form, thy shield is in 
the grave ; while he was, he was no broken shelter.') 

Part of this elegy has been put into English verse by 
Mrs. Hemans : — 

' The Hall of Gynddylan is gloomy to-night ; 
I weep, for the grave has extinguished its light ; 
The beam of the lamp from its summit is o'er. 
The blaze of its hearth shall give welcome no more.' 

And by Mr. Ernest Ehys :~ 

* The Hall of Gynddylan 's dark to-night. 
The hearth is cold that burnt so bright, 
My tears fall down in the ashes white. 

* Ah, Hall of Gynddylan, it pierces me. 
Where once was thy hearth's warm courtesy, 
To-night thy sombre walls to see.' 

Another well-known poem of Lly warch's is his ' Song to 
his Old Age and to his Sons ' : — 

' Y mae henaint yn cym^^^edd — a mi 
O'm gwallt i'm dannedd, 
A'r cloyn a gerynt y gwragedd. 

' Fy mhedwar prif gas ermoed 
Ymgyferfyddynt yn unoed. 
Pas a henaint, haint a hoed. 


' Wyf hen, wyf unig, wyf anelwig — oer, 

Gwedi gwely ceinmyg ; 
Wyf truan, wyf tri dyblyg. 

' Wyf tri dyblyg hen, wyf anwadal — ddrud, 

Wyf ehud, wyf an war ; 
Y sawl a'm carodd ni'm c^r. 

* Truan o dynged a dyngwyd — i Ly warch 
Er y nos y' i ganed, — 
Hir gnif heb esgor lludded.' 

('Old age is making sport of me, from my hair to my teeth, and my 
eyes, which the women loved. 

' The four things I have all my life most hated have met together with 
one accord, — coughing and old age, sickness and sorrow. 

* I am old, I am lonely, I am without shape, and cold, after the sump- 
tuous bed of honour ; I am miserable, I am triply bent. 

' I am a triply bent old man, I am a fickle proud one, I am foolish, I am 
peevish ; those that loved me love me not. 

* Miserable has been the fate decreed to Llywarch, since the night that 
he was born — endless toil, with no deliverance from his weariness.') 

Some of these verses have been paraphrased by Mrs. 
Hemans : — 

' Yet, yet I live on, though forsaken and weeping ; 
O grave, why refuse to the aged thy bed. 
When valour's high heart on thy bosom is sleeping. 
When youth's glorious flower is gone down to the dead 1 ' 

And Englished thus by Mr. Ernest Rhys : — 

' Old crutch, whose burden I am grown. 
What of my youth this long while flown, — 
That marched with shouldered spear, alone 1 

* Alas ! is not the harvest here. 
When the rush grows yellow, the bracken sere 1 
What I hated once, — the fall of the year ! 

' This leaf the wind drives down in the mould, — 
(Woe, woe to the leaf, when the wind grows cold). 
This year it was born, this year it is old.' 

Quoting from this poem of Llywarch's, Matthew Arnold 
says, * There is the Titanism of the Celt, his passionate, tur- 
bulent, indomitable reaction against the despotism of fact/ 


Though this is perhaps not a saying which applies to the 
Celt in particular, we shall have cause to keep it in mind 
more than once later on in our sketch. 

Of all his four-and-twenty sons, Gwen was by far the 
father's favourite. * Because he was a son of mine he fled 
not,' * because he was a son of mine he skulked not,' — 

* Pedwar meib ar hugain a'm bu, 
Eurdorchog dywysog llu, 
Oedd Gwen goreu onaddu.' 

(*Four and twenty sons had I, golden torqued leader of hosts; of them 
Gwen was the best.') 

And again : — 

* Gwen was the best son of his father,' ' compared to Gwen they were 
but striplings.' 

Other not unknown works of our bard are the Elegy to 
Urien, Prince of Eheged : — 

*A fydd fyth Urien arall V 
' ('Will there ever be another Urien'?') 

and the Song or Elegy to Geraint the son of Erbin : — 

* There was a neighing host under Geraint's thigh, long-legged like the 
stag, with the noise of the fire on the desolation of the mountain.' 


This, the last of our * primary bards,' has so many com- 
positions over his name which are admittedly spurious that it 
wiU be safest not to meddle too much with him in a brief 
sketch like the present. Most of what were formerly supposed 
to be the works of Taliesin are now known to be productions 
of the mediaeval period. Yet he, like Aneirin and Llywarch 
H6n, seems to have been a real person, and if tradition is to 
be believed, to have been in his day no mean poet — he 
is called 'Taliesin Ben Beirdd,' or 'Head of the Bards.' 
Whether this be true or not cannot now be determined, but 
if it is, then it is not difficult to account for a large number 
of spurious compositions being attributed to one the prestige 


of whose name was so great. In most of what is called 
Taliesin's work, however, there is little of interest in a literary- 
sense. Urien of Eheged ^ is eulogised : — 

* Urien yr Echwydd, 
Haelaf dyn Bedydd.' 

(* Urien of the West, the most generous of the men of Christendom.') 

And we are told of his deeds against the English : — 

' Angeu a gawsant 
A mynych goddiant, 
Heb gaffel gwared, 
Rhag Urien Rheged.' 

(* Death they received, and frequent vexation, without obtaining deliver- 
ance, before Urien of Rheged.') 

He was the bard's patron : — 

* Urien a gyrchaf , 
Iddo yd ganaf.' 

(*To Urien will I go, to him will I sing.') 

And in one of the several elegies we are told that 

* there is a city of God which crumbles not nor trembles, and blessed is the 
soul that deserves it.' 

Taliesin, also, is the reputed author of the well-known 
lines which ' prophesy * the fate of the Cymry, * Their lord 
they will praise,' etc., but that is a uaticinium post euentum, 
long after Taliesin's days. 

The ' Book of Taliesin,' containing most of these Taliesin 
poems, is described as a manuscript of the early part of the 
fourteenth century, and is now at Peniarth. 

Other Bards. 

To this period are assigned some other bardic names, 
among them that of the very shadowy Myrddin, known 
outside of Wales as Merlin. The productions attributed to 
these appear in the Myvyrian, and Skene, and in the * Black 

1 Where Rheged was is unknown : some say in Scotland, but it may have been in 


Book of Carmarthen,' edited by Dr. Gwenogvryn Evans. The 
' Black Book ' is a manuscript of poetry belonging to the middle 
of the twelfth century, and is now at Peniarth, forming, with 
the prose manuscript of the Yenedotian Version of the Laws, 
the earliest of our Welsh manuscripts. ' No manuscript 
appears to be extant in Welsh dating before the Norman 
Conquest ' of England, * which among its other effects on 
Wales brought about a great change in Welsh handwriting 
and spelling. The old orthography was discontinued, and 
another introduced more in harmony with English and 
French ideas ; it had also the advantage of being more 
nearly phonetic than the old historical spelling which was 
displaced by it.' 

Here and there in the * Black Book ' — some of the contents 
of which belong to a time earlier than that in which the 
manuscript was written — are little bits of literary interest : — 

' Ym mryn, yn nhyno, yn ynysedd — m6r, 

Ymhob £fordd ydd eler, 
Khag Crist Gwyn nid oes anialedd.' 

(* On hill, in vale, in the isles of the sea, whithersoever a man may go, 
there is no desert to escape from Christ the Blessed.') 

And the wicked shall not go 

' Man y mae meillion a gwlith ar dirion, 
Man y mae cerddorion yn gy wair gyson.' 

(' Where the clover grows and the dew is on the land, where the minstrels 
are true and in harmony.') 

Close of the Old Welsh Period. 

From what has been said in regard to the period we are 
now leaving, it will be clear that though we have no Welsh 
manuscript dating from the actual period itself, there is 
abundant proof that at the close of the eleventh century the 
Cymry must have possessed a literature, some at least of 
which was old even then. In the Laws we read of Legisla- 
tion in regard to bards and minstrels ; in the poems there is 
continual mention of bards, minstrels, and songs. The state 


of society implied could not be of recent growth; some 
hundreds of years must have been required for its develop- 
ment, and for the perfecting of the language into the form 
in which we find it in the literature of the time. * The bard 
had, in fact, become a necessary element in Welsh society, 
and, as we learn from the Laws of Howel Dda, had obtained 
an eminent social position/ To the Cymry the bards were 
much what the prophets were to the Israelites, and the poets 
and rhapsodists to the Greeks : the teachers and recorders 
of the nation. They eulogised their patrons, and sang elegies 
after them ; and in their care was the noble language which 
they perfected so beautifully. There were three grades of 
bards : the Pencerdd, or Chief bard ; the Bardd Teulu, or 
Bard of the Troops ; and the Clerwr. The Pencerdd was the 
chief bard of a district, often holding the lordship of that 
district. He had jurisdiction over the clerwyr, and held the 
chair of authority, which was contended for : in his own 
authority he was independent of the prince. The Bardd 
Teulu was a court official : his duties included those of 
attending the forces in battle, and exhorting them to the 
fight. The Clerwr was the ordinary bard who had no status. 
It was evidently of old, as it still is among the Cymry, 
the boast of the bards that they cultivated their own native 
speech and national literature. The Welsh ecclesiastic often 
wrote in Latin ; in that tongue, which later became the 
bane of Europe, are the histories of Gildas and * Nennius,' 
and of Asser, the Welsh friend of Saxon Aelfred. But the 
Welsh bard wrote in his own tongue, and this gives the clue 
to his importance and influence among his own people. 

Lastly, to the facts briefly summarised here, add 
* intelligent princes, a people of subtle genius, an educated 
priesthood, and an intimate intercourse with Ireland, the 
then favourite seat of learning, and some preparation will 
have been made to appreciate the facts and intellectual 
phenomena which ' manifested themselves so strikingly in the 
next period. 

{To he continued,) 



E. C. Watson 

Celtic mythology and its mysteries afford a very wide field 
for investigation, and a field as yet almost untouched ; but 
surmise must play an important part in any account of such 
mythology for the fragments remaining of ancient Celtic 
literature throw but a feeble light on the subject. The 
mythology of the Celt is in its very nature more abstruse 
than that of the ancient Greeks and Eomans for example. 
The mysticism of the Celt has obscured the lineaments of his 
ancient beliefs. He has not committed his creeds to writing, 
nor has he carved the image of his gods in stone or wood.^ 
Indeed one of the articles of the Druid faith was that nothing 
relating to it should be written. A misty veil hangs over 
the deities, good and bad alike, and probably much of what 
is only mediaeval has been appropriated to mythology, while, 
on the other hand, it is certain that many features of 
ancient and prehistoric mythology appear in customs and 
beliefs continued to the present day. 

The early Celtic missionaries, * wise in their day and 
generation,' did not seek to eradicate the old beliefs and 
habits of the people to leave room for the doctrines of Chris- 
tianity, but grafted the new cult on to the old, making the 
transference of faith easier. 

To this we owe what remains to us of the old ways and 
customs, and let the scoffer say what he will of ' superstitious 
ignorance,' he cannot with truth say that these * superstitions ' 
interfere in any way with the Celt's Christianity. For who 
can deny to the Celt strong religiousness ? * Pagan or Chris- 
tian religion, or both, permeate everything. The Celt is 
synthetic and sympathetic, unable to see and careless to 
know where the secular begins and the religious ends — an 
admirable union of elements in life, and for those who have 
lived it as truly and intensely as the Celt races everywhere 

^ I do not here speak of the Gaul, who did carve the image of his gods in stone. 


have done, and none more truly or more intensely than our 
own Scottish Highlanders.'^ 

Yet notwithstanding what we owe to the leniency of our 
early missionaries comparatively little remains to us of the 
ancient beliefs and customs of our fathers. In some cases we 
have little more than the names of the deities and we find 
it difficult to be certain of their attributes, as their cult is 
being gradually forgotten and the deities and their attributes 
become confused. 

The greater personages of Celtic mythology have been 
treated of by Rhys, d'Arbois de Jubainville, Gaidoz, and 
others. I do not propose to deal with the deities written 
of by these learned gentlemen, but shall confine myself to the 
lesser divinities of the Highlands, corresponding rather to 
nymphs, naiads, fauns, and satyrs. 

I should say here that most of my information is got from 
my father. Some of the material I have used is taken from 
his Garmina Gadelica. I am also much indebted to Mr. 
Kenneth Macleod, whose name is familiar to readers of the 
Celtic Review, 

Water-spirits bulk largely in the minor mythology of the 
Celts. Of these some are pleasant in appearance, and some 
more or less repulsive, but often with the power of changing 
their appearance and pleasing the beholder — generally for 
evil purposes. The mermaid, who is sometimes seen seated 
on a rock combing her hair, is perhaps hardly to be classed 
among the divinities of the Celts. The ' bean-nighe,' washer 
is widely known. She is the nymph who presides over 
those about to die and washes their shrouds on the edge of 
a lake, the banks of a stream, or the stepping-stones of a 
ford. While washing the shroud the water-nymph sings 
the dirge and bewails the fate of the doomed. The 
* nigheag ' is so absorbed in her washing and singing that 
she is sometimes captured. When this occurs she will grant 
her captor three requests. Hence when a man is specially 
successful in life it is said of him, ' Mary ! the man got the 

1 Carmina Gadelica. 
VOL. V. D 


better of the " nigheag," and she gave him his three choice 

On a certain night, a handsome young man was going to 
visit his sweetheart at Houghgeary, near Uist, and, as was his 
usual custom, he took all the shortest cuts. When he was near- 
ing the house, he saw a lovely woman whom he did not recognise. 
Immediately he turned and took a winding path amongst the 
houses in order to avoid her, but however he might keep out 
of the way, she was always before him. At last he stopped, 
and she came face to face with him, and said she, ' I know 
very well where you are going, but it is much better for you 
to turn, the day will not come when you will marry her. 
Before a year is out, you will be drowned, when it is half-tide 
at Sgeir Rois.' Almost before the words were out of her 
mouth, she shrieked, and went to the stream with the shroud. 
The lad went on his way sick at heart, but, on thinking over 
the matter, he said to himself he need not be at all afraid, as 
the washer had said that he would be drowned at half-tide, and 
why should he not avoid the place at that time 1 He thought 
no more about it. A few weeks afterwards the lad, with three 
or four others, went to a wedding, and as a short cut took to 
the ford. A mist came on, and one of them was lost. It 
need not be said that at that time it was half-tide at 
Sgeir Ilbis, and that the lost one was he who had seen 
the washer. 

The * caoineag ' is sometimes confused with the ' bean- 
nighe.' The * caoineag,' however, foretells the death of and 
weeps for those slain in battle, and cannot be approached or 
questioned. She is seldom seen, but is often heard in hill 
and glen, or in the corrie, by the lake, by the stream, and the 
waterfall. Her mourning causes much alarm to wayfarers 
and to relatives of those at the war. The sorrowful cry of the 
* caoineag ' was much feared before a foray or a battle. It is 
said that she was heard for several niefhts before the Massacre 
of Glencoe. This roused the suspicions of the people, and 
notwithstanding the assurance of the peace and friendship of 
the soldiery many of the people left the glen, and thus 



escaped the fate of those who remained. The following is a 
verse of a song current there : — 

' Tha caoineag bheag a bhroin 
A taomadh deoir a sula, 
A gul 's a caoidh cor Clann Domhuill 
Fath mo leoin ! nach d'eisd an cumha/ 

Little caoineag of the sorrow- 
Is pouring the tears of her eyes, 
Weeping and wailing the fate of Clan Donald, 
Alas my grief ! that ye did not heed her cries. 

When a sorrowful cry is heard, and the question is asked, * Co 
tha sid '? Who is that ? ' the answer was often, ' Co ach caoin- 
eachag bheag a bhroin, Who but little caoinag of the sorrow/ 

* Peallaidh ' is a mysterious being, with long, untidy hair, 
haunting streams. It does not seem to be specially uncanny, 
nor to have been of an interfering disposition, but very little 
can be learned about it. At least one of its favourite spots 
is now called after this mythological personage — namely, 
Aberfeldy, which in Gaelic is Aber Pheallaidh, the confluence 
of the Peallaidh. From the ragged, untidy appearance of 
this spirit we get several words — as 'peallach,* *peallag,' 
* pealltag.' 

Not unlike the 'peallaidh' apparently is the * uraisg,' which 
frequents glens, corries, reedy lakes, and sylvan streams. He 
is represented as a monster, half man, half goat, with ab- 
normally long hair, long teeth, and long claws. He is not, 
however, unfriendly to those who do not annoy him beyond 
showing them scenes and telling them of events above and 
upon and below the world that fill them with terror. Strong 
men avoided the haunts of the ' uraisg ' at night. 

Many places are called after the ' uraisg.' In the Coolin 
Hills in Skye there is a place called ' Coire nan Uraisg,' and 
another adjoining it called ' Bealach nan Uraisg.' A glen in 
Kilninver, Argyll, is called ' Gleann Uraisg.' Many stories 
are told of the * uraisg' possessing this glen — the appear- 
ance, action, and speech of the supernatural creature being 
graphically described. 


So far as I am able to judge, the * each-uisge,' ' tarbh-uisge ' 
and * tarbh baoidhre ' represent the same imaginary person. 
The * each-uisge ' is perhaps the most widely known and the 
most strongly individualised of these supernatural beings. 
The stories of him are very numerous and circumstantial. 
He is pictured when in his natural shape as a huge, black, 
hairy monster, apparently something like a hippopotamus, at 
other times like a splendid horse in appearance, but able at 
will to change his shape and become a most handsome and 
attractive young man — generally for the purpose of deluding 
an equally attractive young woman and inducing her to 
accompany him to his submarine abode. He resorts to this 
trick especially in summer and near the shielings, when 
the women spend the long days tending the cattle and 
making butter and cheese for winter use, away from the 
protection of the men of their families. Stories of the ' each- 
uisge ' are very numerous, and there are few districts in the 
Highlands where several such are not to be had. 

In Eigg the ' each-uisge ' dwells in a small, deep loch near 
the Scuir. It often appears in the form of a handsome young 
man, and has more than once succeeded in carrying off a young 
woman. On one occasion he appeared as a strapping young 
fellow with golden hair and met 'Nighean Fear Ghrudh- 
lainn ' near the Scuir. They sat down and chatted away for 
a while, but the sun was hot, and by-and-by the young man 
fell asleep with his head resting on the girl's knee. While 
he was asleep the girl had time to notice that his hair was 
full of sand, and that he had the queerest feet she had ever 
seen. Then it dawned upon her that she was being tricked, 
and that her companion was no other than the * each-uisge.* 
She wished to get away, but he had her long, black hair so 
firmly gripped in his hand that she could not. She sat in a 
cold agony, unable to move, feeling that her end was near, 
and thinking of the terrible stories she had heard of young 
women similarly entrapped and carried oflf, and whose lungs 
and hearts were afterwards found floating on the loch, indi- 
cating all too surely what their fate had been. She did not 


faint, however, nor cry out — Highland girls are made of 
better stuff — but considered how she could get away without 
disturbing the slumbers of her now much detested com- 
panion. Suddenly her eyes fell upon a very sharp stone, 
and, gently reaching for it, she patiently cut her hair free 
from his grasp, cautiously raised his head from her knee 
and escaped. 

On another occasion the * each-uisge ' was more successful 
— he carried off a girl, and actually married her in his ' talla 
fo'n loch.' She lived with him for a year and a day and then 
managed to escape, leaving her baby behind. The * each- 
uisge ' found nursing * gey ill wark,* and composed a most 
touching lullaby full of appeals to his wife to come back and 
to the child to stop its howls and shrieks. The lullaby 
begins * A Mhor, a Mhor, till ri d' mhacan.' It is claimed 
by several places. 

In many districts of the Highlands the * each-uisge ' is not 
by any means extinct. In many others the account of how 
the last water-horse was killed may be heard. 

In Ireland and the Isle of Man the water-horse is equally 
well known, while the Norse have also the * Myks ' or 
' Vatna Hestr,' river sprite or water-horse, which is entirely 
similar to the Highland one. The * Vatna Hestr ' is supposed 
to live in either salt or fresh water. 

The people of Glen Meay in Man tell how the glen was 
haunted by the spirit of a man who had met the * CapuU 
(Cabbyl) Ushtey,' and, thinking it was an ordinary horse, 
got upon its back, when it ran off and disappeared into the 
sea and its rider was drowned. 

Campbell of Islay says : ' I have been told of English 
sportsmen who went in pursuit of them, so circumstantial 
were the accounts of those who believed they had seen the 
" each-uisge." The witnesses are so numerous, and their testi- 
mony agrees so well, that there must be some old, deeply- 
rooted Celtic belief which clothes every dark object in the 
dreaded form of the " each-uisge." . . . These tales and beliefs 
have led me to think that the old Celts must have had a 


destroying water- god to whom the horse was sacred, or who 
had the form of a horse/ 

Sea-cows are also known in Gaelic mythology. They are 
represented as having red ears, one or both of which are 
notched, and probably are a tradition of the old Caledonian 

Several sea-cows came ashore at Struth, Obbe, Harris. 
The sea-maiden was tending the cows, and singing as she 
sent them back to the sea and away through the sound of 

Harris : — 

' Chualas nuall an cuan Canach, 
Bo a Tiriodh, bo a Barraidh, 
Bo a lie, 's bo a Arrain, 
'S a Cinntire mhin a bbarraich. 

Theid mi, theid mi, theid mi Mhuile, 

Theid mi dh' Eire nam fear fuileach, 

Theid mi Mhanain bheag nan culaidh, 

'S theid mi ceum dh'an Fhraing 's cha chunnart.' 

A low is heard in the sea of Canna. 
A cow from Tiree, a cow from Barra, 
A cow from Islay, a cow from Arran, 
And from Green Kintyre of birches. 

I will go, I will go, I will go to Mull, 
I will go to Eirin of the bloody men, 
I will go to little Man of the wherries, 
And I will go to France and no mishap. 

' Loireag ' is a water-sprite who presides over the warping, 
weaving, waulking, and washing of the web. If the women 
omit any of the traditional usages and ceremonies of these 
occasions she resents their neglect in various ways. If a 
song is sung twice at a waulking the ' loireag ' will come and 
render the web as thin as before, and all the work of the 
women of no avail. If a woman sings out of tune the 
* loireag ' is especially wrathful. A libation of milk is given 
to this creature. If this is not done she sucks the goats, 
sheep, and cows of the townland, placing a spell upon them 
so that they cannot move. The following story is from 


Benbecula : * Benmore was always eerie because of the 
** loireag " dwelling there. She is a small mite of womanhood, 
who does not belong to this world but to the world beyond. 
She used to drive the people distracted with fear when I 
first remember. But there is now no one in Benmore whom 
she can frighten unless the big sheep. She is a plaintive little 
thing but stubborn and cunning. There was once a little 
cross carle in Benmore, and the '* loireag" was sucking his 
cow. His daughter tried to drive her away, but could not. 
So she went in and told her father that neither the " loireag " 
nor the cow heeded her. The little carle leapt out at the 
door in a red rage. He threw a boulder at the " loireag," 
but struck the cow and nearly killed her. He then seized 
the point of the cow's horn in the name of Columba, and 
immediately the cow leaped away from the "loireag," and she 
leaped away from the cow. The "loireag" betook herself to 
the corrie of Coradale, mocking the cross-grained carle, and 
singing as she went : — 

* Bhodaich bhig a Bhun a Choire, 
Bhodaich bhig a chota ghioire, 
Bhodaich bhig a Bhun a Bhealaich, 
Mealam dhut do lamhach ! ' 

Little carle of Corrie-foot, 
Little carle of the short coat, 
Little carle of the Foot of the Pass 
Much I praise your aim. 

One deity at least we Celts have borrowed from the 
Norse. This is Eigir, who in Norse mythology is king of the 
sea, while in Celtic he is god of tides, having to watch the 
tidal currents and see that ebb and flow occur at the right 
times and in the proper way. He is also king of the dwarfs 
and of the misers. The Norse root of the word is ehi fear, 

In some places Eigir is appropriated to mean anything 
dwarfish or miserly ' iasg eigir,' a small fish ; * iasgach 
eigir,' a poor fishing ; * tiodhlachd eigir,' a miserly donation. 
It is also used in place names as ' Leac Eigir,' ' Loch Eigir,' 


' Sgeir Eigir.' Carlyle in his Heroes and Hero-Worship tells 
how when the Ouse is in flood the Yorkshire boatmen hurry 
for the shore shouting ' Eager is coming, Eager is coming.' So 
also do the boatmen on the Severn. The phenomenon which 
they called ' Eager/ and represent as a deity to be dreaded 
is what is commonly known as a 'bore/ Probably the 
* Eager ' was known wherever the Norsemen had gained a 
hold — though its meaning is now lost sight of. Some years 
ago the German Emperor composed a 'Hymn to Eigir' — 
preliminary to increasing his navy. A deity called * Eigir ' is 
also god of the muses in Celtic mythology, but little is now 
to be learnt of him. 

Fairies are the most widely known of all mythical 
creatures. I do not suppose there is a race which does 
not have fairies, and there are few people who could not tell 
some tale of them. Many surmises have been hazarded as 
to the origin of the idea of the existence of the ' little people ' 
— that which gains most favour is that there really lived in 
these islands a small race similar to the Lapps, and that the 
underground houses so common in many parts of the country 
were their dwellings, hence the fairy ' bruth ' or bower. The 
following tale told to my father and Mr. Campbell of Islay 
in Minglay, Barra, accounts for their origin in another way : — 

* The Proud Angel fomented a rebellion among the angels 
of heaven where he had been a leading light. He declared 
that he would go and found a kingdom of his own. When 
going out at the door of heaven the Proud Angel brought 
"dealanaich dheilgnich agus beithir bheumnaich," prickly 
lightning and biting lightning, out of the door-step with his 
heels. Many angels followed him — so many that at last the 
Son called out, " Father ! Father ! the city is being emptied!" 
whereupon the Father ordered that the gates of heaven and 
of hell should be closed. This was instantly done ; and 
those who were in were in, and those who were out were 
out ; while the hosts who had left heaven and had not reached 
hell, flew into the holes of the earth " mar na famhlagan," like 
the stormy petrels. 


' These are the fairy folks — ever since doomed to live 
under the ground, and only permitted to emerge when and 
where the King permits. They are never allowed abroad on 
Thursday, that being Columba's day, nor on Friday, that 
being the Son's day, nor on Saturday, that being Mary's 
day, nor on Sunday, that being the Lord's day. 

' Dia eadar mi 's gach siodha, 
Gach mi-run 's gach druidheachas, 
An diugh an Daorn air muir 's air tir, 
M' earbs a Righ nach cluinn iad mi.* 

God be between me and every fay, 

Every ill wish and every druidism, 

To-day is Thursday on sea and land, 

I trust in the King that they do not hear me. 

' On certain nights when their " bruthain," bowers, are 
open and their lamps are lit, and the song and the dance 
are moving merrily, the fairies may be heard singing light- 
heartedly : — 

* Cha 'n ann a shiol Adhamh sinn, 

'S cha 'n Abram ar n-athair, 

Ach shiol an ainghil uabharaich, 

Chaidh f huadach a flathas.' 

Not of the seed of Adam are we. 
And Abraham is not our father, 
But of the seed of the Proud Angel, 
Driven forth from heaven. 

Fairies and human beings seem to have always been on 
intimate terms. 

On a certain night a nurse was going home late, and 
when she was going past the fairy hill near the township, the 
hillocks opened and she was drawn in. While she was there 
some of the fairies carried away a fairy child, and after a 
short absence returned with a human child in its stead — as 
beautiful a child as ever the eye of man saw. 

' My little treasure ! my little treasure ! ' said every fairy 
woman in the ^ sithean ' when they saw the chUd, but he 
would not look at any one till at last he saw the nurse, and 


then he lifted his little hands towards her and laughed and 
crowed. * One would think,' said one of the fairy folk, ' that 
the child knew you/ * And indeed,' said the nurse, * it is no 
wonder if he does. I nursed him young for he is my own 
grandchild — the only grandchild I have. You must not keep 
him here. You must send him back where you got him.' 
' Well,' said those who had brought him in, * we travelled 
every corner in hill and townland and we did not get one 
child which had not been blessed by his mother before he 
slept but your own grandson, and as we had no power to 
bring one who had been blessed we brought him. But if we 
had known that he was your grandson we would not have 
interfered with him, and without more ado we will return 
him at once.' They did this, and they were not long away 
when they returned with a beautiful big cow, on which they 
meant to feast till morning. As soon as she saw it the woman 
recognised her own brown Bridein, the only cow she had. But 
she said nothing and the cow was killed and cooked. When 
it was ready the nurse got the best part of the shoulder and, 
as was the custom, she made a verse about it. When she was 
done the fairies said : * One would almost think that you knew 
the cow we killed.' 'It were a wonder if I had not,' she 
said. * She was young when I first put a shackle upon her 
and sent her to grass in the morning and to the fold at night. 
You have killed my only cow.' * And was it not very stupid 
of you not to tell us that before we killed the cow and we 
would have returned it,' said the fairies. ' We searched six 
townships and we did not find a cow without a charm and a 
blessing, without a shackle but your cow, and we brought it 
with us.' 

By way of compensation the woman got several lumps of 
gold, and was sent away happy. During her life her grand- 
child was never again meddled with by fairies, but on her 
death he was stolen again. 

There is a proverb — *Na diult lamh sithiche,' *Do not 
refuse the hand of a fairy ' — the value of which is proved by 
the following story from Skye. Two men were once working 


near a sithean and between the heat of the day and the hard- 
ness of the work they were nearly dead with thirst. Suddenly 
they heard a sound of churning from the hillock. Said one of 
them, ' I wish that I could get some of that buttermilk to 
drink.' No sooner said than the sithean opened and out 
came the little woman of the green kirtle and offered a drink 
of buttermilk to the man who had spoken. But he was 
afraid, and he did not take it from her hand. She turned to 
the other man and offered the drink to him. He took it 
politely from her hand and drank it. Turning again to the 
first man she said : ' Man who asked a drink and did not take 
it, a year from to-day you shall not drink a drop of either 
water or buttermilk.' Then to the second man : * Man who 
did not ask a drink and who took it, you shall get from me 
any possession you choose.' He chose good seamanship for 
himself and his seed, and no one has ever heard of any of 
them being drowned. Perhaps this was from lack of oppor- 
tunity, for Mr. Macleod, from whom I got this tale, adds a 
note — ' I lodged with a descendant of the lucky man and he 
was the most timid seaman I ever met.' It is needless to say 
that the other man died within a year. 

'"Sluagh," ''hosts," the spirit-world. The "hosts" are 
the spirits of mortals who have died. There are many curious 
stories on this subject. According to one informant, the 
spirits fly about ** n'an sgrioslaich mhor, a sios agus a suas air 
uachdar an domhain mar na truidean" — in great clouds, up 
and down the face of the world like the starlings, and come 
back to the scenes of their earthly transgressions. No soul 
of them is without the clouds of earth, dimming the bright- 
ness of the works of God, nor can any win heaven till satis- 
faction is made for the sins of earth. In bad nights, the hosts 
shelter themselves, " fo sgath chuiseaga bheaga ruadha agus 
bhua-ghallain bheaga bhuidhe " — behind little russet docken 
stems and little yellow ragwort stalks. They fight battles in 
the air as men do on the earth. They may be heard and seen 
on clear frosty nights, advancing and retreating, retreating 
and advancing, against one another. After a battle their 



crimson blood may be seen staining rocks and stones. " Fuil 
nan sluagh," the blood of the hosts, is the beautiful red 
** crotal " of the rocks melted by the frost. These spirits used 
to kill cats and dogs, sheep and cattle, with their unerring 
venomous darts. They commanded men to follow them, and 
men obeyed, having no alternative.' 

* It was these men of earth who slew and maimed at the 
bidding of their spirit-masters, who in return ill-treated them 
in a most pitiless manner. " Bhiodh iad ga'n loireadh agus 
ga*n loineadh agus ga'n luidreadh anns gach lod, lud agus 
Ion,'' — They would be rolling and dragging and trouncing 
them in mud and mire and pools. " There is less faith now, 
and people see less, for seeing is of faith. God grant to thee 
and to me, my dear, the faith of the great Son of the lovely 
Mary." There are men to whom the spirits are partial, 
and who have been carried off by them more than once. A 
man in Benbecula was taken up several times. His friends 
assured me that night became a terror to this man, and that 
ultimately he would on no account cross the threshold after 
dusk. He died, they said, from the extreme exhaustion con- 
sequent on these excursions. When the spirits flew past his 
house the man would wince as if undergoing a great mental 
struggle, and fighting against forces unseen of those around 
him. A man in Lismore suffered under precisely similar con- 
ditions. More than once he disappeared mysteriously from 
the midst of his companions, and as mysteriously reappeared 
utterly exhausted and prostrate. He was under vows not to 
reveal what had occurred on these aerial travels.' 

* The " sluagh " are supposed to come from the west ; and 
therefore, when a person is dying, the door and the windows 
on the west side of the house are secured to keep out the 
malicious spirits. In parts of Ross-shire, the door and windows 
of a house in which a person is dying are opened, in order that 
the liberated soul may escape to heaven.' 

Another half water, half land sprite is the 'glastic,' 
* glaisnig, glaisric or glaislid,' called in Man ' glashtin.' It is a 
creature half woman, half goat, frequenting lonely lakes and 


rivers. Harmless and loveable as a rule — especially in the 
older stories, in a few of the later stories she is represented 
as irritable, and once at any rate to have made an attempt 
on a man's life. 

The * glaistic's ' greatest feat was an attempt to build a 
bridge across the Sound of Mull. She gathered a huge creel- 
ful of stones among the hills to the North of Morven and 
walked down to the Sound with her burden. When near 
her destination, however, the creel-rope snapped, and down 
fell the stones. They are still lying there, the heap being 
known as Carn-na-Caillich. The glaistic herself has related 
the incident in rhyme : — 

' An aithne dhuibh Carn-na-Caillich 
Air an leacainn ghlais ud thall 1 
'S mise chruinnich sid le cliabh, 
A' h-uile spitheag riamh a th'ann. 
Drochaid a chuir air Caol Muile, 
'S bha i' furasd' a chuir ann. 
'S mur briseadh an iris mhuineil 
Bha i nis gun teagamh ann.* 

The glaistic was rather fond of expressing herself in 
rhyme. In Glenborrodale where she usually appeared at 
twilight, the old folk invariably greeted her with the remark : 
* An tus' tha sin, a ghlaistid ghlais, a chreutair ? ' to which the 
glaistic as invariably replied : — 

* Tha is bithidh mi 'n Innis-na-Feoraig 
Innis nam feadag 's an goireadh an smeorach.'^ 

On one occasion she came to the Glenborrodale shore to 
be ferried across to the other side. As she reached the boat 
was leaving, and to her demand : ' A Mhic-a-Phi, thoir 
dhomh-s' an t-aisig ' : the ferryman replied that he was in a 
hurry and could not possibly put back. At once the glaistic 
began to coax him — ending up with the flattering appeal : — 

* A Mhic-a-phi nan srol 's nam bratach 
Cha 'n fhag thu air a' chladach mi.' 

^ Innis-na-Feoraig is a Glenborrodale place-name. 



* Fagaidh an trath so, a ghlaistid/ said the ferryman, and 
the glaistid swore an ugly oath ! 

On another occasion, however, the glaistic was more 
successful in getting the ferry. She was on her way to 
Lismore from Morven, and while crossing Ardtornish Bay 
saw a man all alone in a boat. She at once joined him, 
caught an oar, and shouted out to him : * Hiigan oirre, Mhic- 

* Hiigan eil' oirre, a ghalathead,' shouted the boatman in 
return — and so they rowed and shouted all the way to 
Lismore — a pull and a shout from the glaistic : * Htigan 
oirre, Mhic-Ealathaich ' : and a counter pull and shout from 
the boatman : * Htigan eil' oirre, a ghalathid.' 

A pretty feature in the glaistic's character was her love 
for children. While the township women milked their cattle 
in the Buaile, the glaistic would play hide-and-seek with 
the children. * A ghlaistic duibh cha bheir thu oirnn,' said 
the little ones, as they hid behind stones and bushes, and 
then the glaistic would pretend to be angry and would 
shower twigs and daisies on the imps. 

In many of the stories the glaistic is associated with the 
famous pirates, Gilleasluig Maclain Ghiorr and his brother 
Hanald. She invariably found her way to their haunts after 
a successful raid and claimed a share of the spoil. When 
asked how she had discovered their whereabouts her reply 
usually was : ' Bha mi air Sgiirr Eige ' — a phrase which is 
often used now as a proverb in the Western Isles. Once 
indeed, the pirate brothers flattered themselves they had got 
beyond the reach even of the glaistic. This was when they 
invaded Barra to make good their threat against the Macneill 
chief: ' Ge fad a mach Barraidh ruigear e.' The glaistic, 
however, was as adventurous as themselves, and no sooner 
had Mic Iain Ghiorr encamped for the night with all their 
booty around them than the glaistic suddenly appeared on 
the scene and congratulated them on the success of their raid. 
Evidently the lady was hungry after the flight across the 
Minch, for she began at once to nibble away at a carcass 


which was being broiled on the camp fire. This so annoyed 
Baothull Mac Iain Ghiorr that he struck her across the 
knuckles with his wand, whereupon the glaistic appealed to 
Gilleasluig : ' A 'Laisbig (tradition has given the lady a 
childish lisp) nach caisg thu RaothuU/ The end of it all, 
however, was that the glaistic got her usual share of the 

The people of each district are usually able to give the 
reason why the glaistic came to forsake that particular dis- 
trict. She had to leave Glenborrodale, it seems, because of 
her own love of mischief There was a worthy blacksmith in 
the place whom she delighted to tease and bother on every 
possible occasion. At last she took to hammering away at 
his anvil during the night, and thus time after time disturbed 
the rest of the whole township. One night, however, the 
smith managed to enter the smithy unawares, and so caught 
the culprit. She had her 'isean' along with her (the only 
case in which I have heard the *isean' mentioned, says Mr. 
Macleod), and the smith, seizing the little imp, thrust its 
right hand into the fire and threatened something worse still 
unless the glaistic swore to stop all her mad pranks. This 
she promised, and then she and her *isean' disappeared for 
good from Glenborrodale, the *isean,' while disappearing, 
crying out lustily : * A mhathair, 's e Logaid a th'ann, 's e 
Logaid a th'ann.' 

The glaistic forsook the township of Ach-na-Creige in 
Mull owing to a herdboy's trick. In the township cattle-fold 
there was a big stone with a round hole in it, and into this 
hole the milkmaid poured the glaistic's portion of the milk 
each evening. In return for this the glaistic looked after the 
cattle through the night — ' a' buachailleachd na buaile.' One 
evening the herdboy poured boiling milk into the hole, with 
the result that the glaistic got her tongue burnt. So bitterly 
did she resent this trick that she has never since been seen at 

A cup of tea is said to have chased the glaistic from 

^ The glaistic is called Caristiona in Mull. 



Morven. One day she called at some house near Eignig and 
the goodwife, anxious to be as hospitable as possible, offered 
her a cup of tea. The glaistic considered the act a deadly 
insult, and at once decided to leave for ever the tea-country. 

The more recent stories about the glaistic are rather 
unpleasant. She no longer plays with the children or sings 
rhymes— she has degenerated into a kind of female ruffian. 
Probably it would be nearer the truth to say that the change 
has been in the Highlands rather than in the glaistic. 

The * gruagach ' was a supernatural female who presided 
over cattle, and took a kindly interest in all that pertained 
to them. In return she was offered a libation of milk when 
the women milked the cows in the evening. If the oblation 
were neglected, the cattle, notwithstanding all precautions, 
were found broken loose and in the corn, and if still omitted, 
the best cow in the fold was found dead in the morning. 
The offering was poured on * clach na gruagaich,' the * grua- 
gach' stone. There is hardly a district in the Highlands 
which does not possess ' leac a gruagaich ' — a ' gruagich ' stone, 
a flagstone — whereon the milk libation was poured. All these 
oblation stones are erratic ice blocks. Some of them have a 
slight cavity into which the milk was poured, others have 
none, the libation being simply poured on the stone. In 
making the oblation the woman intoned a rune. 

* There is probably no district in the Highlands where the 
" gruagach " could not be fully described. A woman living in 
the remote island of Heisgeir described her so graphically and 
picturesquely that her interested listener could almost see 
moving about in the silvery light of the kindly moon the 
" gruagach " with her tall conical hat, her rich golden hair 
falling about her like a mantle of shimmering gold, while 
with a slight swish of her wand she gracefully turned on her 
heel to admonish an unseen cow. At intervals he seemed to 
hear her mellow voice in snatches of eerie song as she moved 
about among the grassy ruins of the old nunnery — all silent 
now of the holy orisons of gentle sisters.' 

'Connal' is represented as the Celtic Cupid and the 


guardian deity of childhood. His protection is ever near the 
little ones, howsoever they may be in danger. As illustrat- 
ing this, it is told in Skye that a child had got lost in the 
mist and was benighted on the wild moor when a storm came 
on. But the good Connal took the child by the hand and 
led him to safety. A poem composed to this protecting 
spirit is known in Skye, but I regret I have not yet got the 

' Cairbre ' is the name of the deity who carried the souls of 
those slain in battle to *flathanas.' Gaelic usage seems to 
have closely resembled that of other countries in this, as it 
was customary to place a wax candle, a gold coin, a small 
hammer, and a pair of scales in the grave with the body. 
The candle was to light the pilgrim across the dark river of 
death, the coin to pay the services of the ferryman, the 
hammer to knock at the door of heaven, and the scales to 
weigh the soul, which last was done by St. Michael, while 
the chief of the nether regions endeavoured to weigh down 
his side of the balance. 

' Cailleach ' is a supernatural or malign influence dwelling 
in dark caves, woods and corries. 

* Cailleach uisg,' water- woman, water-carlin ; akin to the 
*bean nigh,' 'uraisg,' 'peallaidh.' According to some people, 
' cailleach ' as a period of time is the first week of April, and 
is represented as a wild hag with a venomous temper, hurry- 
ing about with a magic wand in her withered hand switching 
the grass and keeping down vegetation, to the detriment of 
man and beast. When, however, the grass, upborne by the 
warm sun, the gentle dew and the fragrant rain, overcomes 
the ' cailleach,* she flies into a terrible temper, and throwing 
away her wand into the root of a whin bush, she disappears 
in a whirling cloud of angry passion till the beginning of 
April comes in again, saying, as she goes : — 

' Dh' fhag e mhan mi, dh' fhag e 'n ard mi 
Dh' fhag e eadar mo dha lamh mi, 
Dh' fhag e bial mi, dh' fhag e cul mi, 
Dh' fha e eadar mo dha shul mi. 
VOL. V. E 



Dh' fhag e shios mi, dh' fhag e shuas mi, 
Dh' fhag e eadar mo dha chluas mi, 
Dh' fhag e thall mi, dh' fhag e bhos mi, 
Dh' fhag e eadar mo dha chos mi. 

Thilg mi 'n slacan druidh donai, 
Am bun preis crin cruaidh conuis. 
Far nach fas fionn no foinnidh, 
Ach fracan froinnidh feurach.' 

It escaped me below, it escaped me above. 
It escaped me between my two hands, 
It escaped me before, it escaped me behind, 
It escaped me between my two eyes. 

It escaped me down, it escaped me up, 
It escaped me between my two ears, 
It escaped me thither, it escaped me hither, 
It escaped me between my two feet. 

I threw my druidic evil wand. 
Into the base of a withered hard whin bush, 
Where shall not grow ' fionn ' nor ' fionnidh/ 
But fragments of grassy 'froinnidh.' 


Faoilleach, Faoilteach, Foiltheachd, wolf- month, 
the last month of winter, from *faol,' wolf During this 
proverbially hard period the wolf, driven from wood and 
mountain, approached dwellings. There are many sayings 
about this pressing period of the year : — 

* Mi Faoillich, 
Naoi la Gearrain, 
Seachdain Feadaig, 
Seachdain Caillich, 
Tri la Sguabaig, 
Suas an t-earrach ! 

Month of ' Faoilleach,' 
Nine days of ' Gearran,' 
A week of ' Feadag,' 
A week of ' Cailleach,' 
Three days of ' Sguabag,' 
Up with the Spring ! 

[sharp, ravenous, tearing wind, 
[galloping wind, like a garron. 
[sharp, piping wind, 
[a few semi-calm days, 
[the soughing blast which 
ushers in the spring. 

These lines personify the weather under the names of animals 
and other figures. Here we see myths in the making. 

' Tri la luchar 's an Fhaoilleach, 
Tri la Faoilleach 's an luchar.' 

Three days of Dog-days in Wolf-month, 
Three days of Wolf-month in Dog-days. 


* Thubhairt an Gearran ris an Fhaoilleach, 
•' C'ait, a ghaoil, an gamhuinn bochd 1 " 
" Fhir a chuir mi chon an t-saoghail, 
Chuir mi mhaodal air an stochd." 
*' Och mo leireadh," ors an Ceitein. 
" 'S truagh an eirig a thig ort, 
Na 'n d' f huair mise bogadh chluas dheth, 
Chuir mi suas e ris a chnoc.'" 

The 'Gearran' said to the 'Faoilleach,' 

* Where, love, is the lean stirk ? ' 

* Thou who didst send me into the world, 
I placed his paunch upon the stake.' 

* O ! my grief,' said the ' Ceitein,' 

* Great the ransom upon thee, 
Had I at all got hold of his ears, 

I would have sent him up the hill.' 

The ' Gobag,' voracious one, began the day before the 
* Faoilleach,' and is on this account called the mother of the 
' Faoilleach ' :— 

* Gobag, Gobag, mathair Faoillich f uair, 
A mharbh a chaor agus a chaol-uan, 
A mharbh a ghobhar ghlas ri dha, 
Agus an gamhuinn breac ri aon trath.' 

* Gobag ! ' Gobag ! mother of the Wolf-month cold, 
That didst kill the sheep and the lean lamb. 
That didst kill the grey goat in two watches, 
And the speckled stirk in one. 

There were further several beings of whom little or 
nothing is preserved except their names, such as ' Ceasg,' who 
was a creature of great beauty, half woman, half grilse, a 
sort of fresh water mermaid, with long flossy hair. 

' Stic ' was a fairy imp somewhat resembling the Puck of 

' Fuath ' frequently occurs in the tales, and seems to have 
been rather a terrorising being. 

The * gobhar bacach,' lame goat, was also rather ill-omened. 
It travelled the country, and lay down on the best land 
Several places are pointed out as having been lain upon by 
the ' gobhar bacach,' and it is still held to be a sign that a 
particular croft or farm is a good one. 



* Beithir ' was a venomous and destructive creature, who 
lived in dark caves and corries in the mountains. ' Beithir ' 
is the lightning and also serpent, and probably the mytho- 
logical legends have risen from the destructive characters of 
the element and the beast. 

*Tacharan' was a water kelpie of very diminutive size 
even for a sprite. Several places are called after him, and 
many tales are told. 

The * cu sith,' fairy dog, had apparently the evil eye, but 
more information I have not been able to get. 

' Frid, fride,' gnome, pigmy, elf, rock elfin. The people 
apply' the term * fride,' and its derivatives ' fridean,' * fri- 
deag,' ' fridich,' to creatures which they allege dwell in the 
internal rocks and in the innermost parts of the earth. They 
say that these gnomes eat and drink like men, and that it is 
not right to deprive them of the crumbs that fall to the 
ground. When crumbs of food or drops of milk fall on the 
floor, the old people deprecate removing them, saying, ' gabh 
ealla ris, is ioma bial feumach tha feitheamh air ' — ' let it be, 
many are the needy mouths awaiting it.' ' Macmhuirich 
Mor ' of Staoligearry was losing his cattle through * dosgaidh,' 
mischance. As he sat on a rock musing over his losses he 
heard a gnome mother singing to her child : — 

' Uist a lurain, uist a luaidh, 
Uist a chuilean nan cas luath, 
'D uair a shuidhichear clar Mhicmhuirich, 
Gheobh mo luran iodh is uachdar.' 

Hush, thou dearie, hush, thou pet, 
Hush, thou darling of the rapid feet, 
When Macvuirich's board is set, 
My darling will get corn and cream. 

* Macmhuirich Mor ' went home, and though he never went 
into his kitchen before, he went in that day. His baking 
woman was making bread, and bits of dough and grains of 
meal were falling from her in the process. She took no 
notice of these till a piece fell from the bannock on her palm, 
and then she stooped down and lifted it. Macvuirich 


noticed her, and he went over and gave her a tap on the 
back of the hand with the switch he had, saying, ' Gabh ealla 
ris, a mhuirneag, is ioma bial feumach tha feitheamh air * — 
* Leave it alone, maiden, many a needful mouth is waiting 
for it. And as long as thou shalt stand in my house never 
again remove the fragments of food from the floor, they are 
the rightful dues of " fridich nan creag," the gnomes of the 
rocks/ And as long as Macvuirich lived he went daily to 
the knoll with an ofiering of crumbs of bread and drops of 
milk to the gnomes. Never again did ' Macmhuirich Mor ' 
lose his kine or his sheep or his horses. *We must re- 
member the smallest of God's creatures if we are to thrive in 
this world below and to live in the world beyond,' and the 
aged narrator had acted on her belief throughout her long 
life, though she had never once seen nor heard the recipients 
of her bounty.' 

Glen Liadail in South Uist was much inhabited by 
gnomes who, while friendly to the people of the glen, 
resented the intrusion of strangers. It was necessary for a 
wayfarer to sing a propitiatory song before entering the 
glen. On one occasion the young wife of a crofter in the ad- 
joining glen was left alone with her child when she felt the 
house becoming oppressively full of people. She knew that 
these were the * fridich ' who go about in clouds like midges, 
but invisible to mortal eyes. The woman was sore afraid, 
but retaining her presence of mind, she sang an extempore 
song in which she highly praised the gnomes. They, being 
intensely sensitive to flattery, did no harm to the lonely 
woman nor to the helpless child, but before the song was 
ended, had left the house as silently as they had come. 

Such is some of the minor mythology of the Highlands. 
Many stories might be added, and instances of customs and 
ceremonies might be adduced, showing belief in, and, if not 
always worship, at least reverence for the supernatural 
creatures with which the Celts peopled every corner of the 
land. These creatures were characteristic of the country and 



of its people, and they took, as will be seen even from this 
brief account, a large part in the life of the Highland people, 
whose minds are the poorer by the loss of their ancient tales 
and customs. Where the older people still retain some faith 
in the beings of whom their fathers have told them, they are 
for the most part careful to keep such to themselves, and so 
avoid laying themselves open to the scofl&ng of the younger 
generation and of incomers. 


Rev. a. Maclean Sinclair 

The ancestors of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel and their 
approximate dates of birth were as follows : — 

John, . 
Allan, . 
John Dubh, 
Ewen, . 
Allan, . 
Donald Dubh, 
Ewen, . 
Donald Dubh, 
Allan, . 

1600. Millony, 

1565. Paul, . 

1535. Patrick, 

1500. Martin, 

1470. Paul, . 

1440. Millony, 

1410. Gillaroth, 

1380. Martin Og, 

1350. Gillacamsroin, 

1315. Martin Mor, 


In dealing with a long list of names it is necessary, as a 
general rule, to allow thirty-two years for a generation. 
Skene has Gillaganiorgan in place of Gillacamsroin. As 
Gillaganiorgan is a meaningless and unknown name, it is 
clearly a misreading. It is certain that there was a Gilla- 
camsroin, and it is altogether probable that he was either 
the son and successor of Martin Mor or the eldest son of 
Gillaroth. As it was extremely difficult to read the MS. 
in which Skene found the pedigree of the Camerons and Mac- 
gillouies msr could easily be mistaken for nior. By counting 
ni as m we find the same number of letters in Gillaganiorgan 
as in Gillacamsroin. In his first version of the genealogy 
Skene omits all the names between Paul and Mor. In the 


second version he gives Gilla , son of Martin Mor. It is 

in the third version that we find Gillaganiorgan, and it is 
given with a note of interrogation after it. It is evident 
then that the part of the name after Gilla was to a large 
extent illegible. 

Gillacamsron means the young man with the crooked nose. 
It is possible that his real name was Ewen. He was a brave 
warrior, and in course of time came to be known among 
friends and foes as Gillacamsroin. His descendants were 
proud of him and long after he had left the world gladly- 
adopted the name by which he was popularly known as their 
surname. Gillony and Millony are the same name, and mean 
servants of the storm or of the raging sea. 

The Macmartins 

The Macmartins derived their name from Martin Mor, 
and were an older branch of his descendants than the 
Camerons. They lived east of the Lochy and occupied the 
lands of Letterfinlay, Invergloy, Dochanassie, Stronaba, 
Miccomer, and others. Of their history prior to the year 
1400 we know nothing. 

In 1492 Alexander of Lochalsh, Celestine son of Ewen, 
and Martin son of Duncan, appear as witnesses to a charter 
granted by John, Lord of the Isles. Martin son of Duncan, 
was undoubtedly either the chief of the Macmartins or the 
son and heir of their chief. 

Duncan Macmartin was born probably about 1425. Martin, 
his son, had at least two children, Duncan and a daughter, 
who became the wife of Donald Dubh Maclean of Treshnish, 
Domhnall Dubh s! Chaisteil. Duncan son of Martin was in 
possession of Letterfinlay and the other Macmartin lands in 
1513. He had two sons, Duncan and Donald, Duncan was 
chief of the Macmartins from 1598 to 1636. Duncan Og, his 
son and successor, appears on record in 1642. Duncan Og 
had two sons, Martin Mor and John Roy. Martin Mor placed 
himself, in 1663, under the protection of Angus of Glengarry, 
Lord MacDonell and Aros. He had four children, Duncan, 



Martin Og, Mary, and another daughter Mary was married 
to Gillespick MacDonald of Keppoch. The other daughter 
was married to John Mor Macsorlie of Glen Nevis. Duncan, 
son and successor of Martin, fought at Mulroy in support of 
Coll of Keppoch in 1688, and fought at Killiecrankie in 1689. 
He died without issue, and was succeeded by George, son of 
Martin Og, son of Martin Mor. George died about 1736, and 
was succeeded by his son. Captain Cosmo Gordon Cameron, 
who died without issue. Captain Cosmo was succeeded by 
a distant relative, George Macmartin Cameron. It was 
generally believed that the lawful heir was not George but 
John Cameron in Glenroy. George died in 1829, leaving 
three sons, all of whom died without issue. The estate of 
Letterfinlay was sold in 1851 to a man named Baillie. As 
the Macmartins have made Camerons of themselves they 
have ceased to exist as a distinct clan, and can have no chief 
except Lochiel. But they can have a chieftain, and should 
have one. 

The Camerons 

Some of the descendants of Martin Mor crossed the Lochy 
at an early period and settled in Glenlui and Locharkaig. 
In course of time they became more numerous than their 
brethren east of the Lochy. The date of their migration we 
do not know. It is probable, however, that it began about 
1150. The new settlers became divided into two branches, 
the Camerons proper and the Macgillonies. The former were 
descended from the eldest son of Gillaroth, and the latter 
from Millony, a younger son. Some of the Macgillonies 
settled at Invermallie and others at Strone. 

Although the Camerons were in possession of Glenlui and 
Locharkaig, they had no title to these lands either from 
the King or the Lord of the Isles. According to the Clan 
Chattan historians and others, William Macintosh, chief of 
the Macintoshes, obtained a charter of Glenlui and Lochar- 
kaig from John, first Lord of the Isles, in the year 1366. 
The story about the charter may or may not be true. It is 
certain, however, that the Macintoshes held in 1366 that 


they had a legal claim to the lands occupied by the Camerons, 
and it is also certain that in that year or shortly afterwards 
they began to enforce their claim by the sword. They never 
succeeded, however, in expelling the Camerons from the lands 
held by them. 

The Macgillonies 

Allan, son of Millony, was known as Ailein MacMhaolon- 
fhaidh, which in course of time came to be pronounced Ailein 
MacOlonai. The name as thus pronounced would become in 
English Allan MacOlony. By the blundering of some scribe 
Allan MacOlony was converted to Allan MacOchtry, a name 
which never existed among the Macgillonies or any other 
Highland clan. 

About 1380 the Camerons and the Macgillonies, and 
probably the Macmartins also, made a raid into Badenoch, 
and carried off all the cattle, sheep, and horses they could 
find. On their way home they were attacked at Invernahavon 
by the Macintoshes, Davidsons, and Clan Vuirich. The 
battle which took place was long and bloody, and both sides 
lost heavily. The plunderers had to leave their booty at 
Invernahavon, but their assailants were not in a position to 
pursue and conquer them. The Macgillonies were led by 
their chief, Donald Dubh MacAllan. Ewen, son and successor 
of Donald Dubh, may have witnessed the furious combat on the 
North Inch of Perth in 1396. He was in all probability the 
commander of the Camerons at the Battle of Harlaw in 1411. 
According to the Ardgour MS., he was known as Eoghann 
nan Creach or Ewen of the Forays. He married a daughter 
of Allan MacEanald, second of Moydart, and by her had 
Donald Dubh, his successor, and a daughter who was married 
about 1435 to Donald Maclean, first of Ardgour, and had by 
him Ewen, second of Ardgour. 

As the wife of Donald of Ardgour was one of my re- 
mote grandmothers, I can claim descent from such expert 
plunderers as the Macleans of Ardgour, the Camerons of 
Lochiel, and the Clanranald of Moydart. Yes, they were 
plunderers in the days when plundering was fashionable, but 


they were not sly, whining, degraded grafters. If they took 
what did not belong to them, they took it openly and risked 
their lives to get it. 

Donald Dubh MacEwen supported King James in his 
attack upon Alexander of the Isles in 1429, and fought 
against Donald Balloch at Innerlochy in 1431. He was^ 
married, and had two sons, Allan and Ewen. It has been 
stated over and over that he commanded the Camerons at 
the battle of Harlaw. For this statement there is no 
authority except the semi -fictitious history of Hugh 
MacDonald of Sleat. It is not true ; at any rate it is not in 
agreement with known facts. 

Alexander, third Lord of the Isles, married Elizabeth 
Seton, by whom he had John, his successor. He had a 
natural son, named Celestine, or Gillespick, by a daughter 
of Macphee of Glenpean. He had also a natural son, named 
Hugh, by a daughter of Patrick, son of Rory, son of the 
Green Abbot. In 1463 Celestine received from his brother 
John a charter of the lands of Lochalsh, Lochcarron and 
Lochbroom. Celestine married Fingula, daughter of Lachlan 
Bronnach Maclean of Duart, and had by her Alexander, 
Fingula, and Margaret. Fingula was married in 1467 to 
Alexander Sutherland of Dunbeath, Margaret was married 
about 1472 to Ewen, second son of Donald Dubh, and by her 
had Celestine, who appears as a witness in 1492. 

Allan, son and successor of Donald Dubh, married Mariot, 
daughter of Angus Macdonald, second of Keppoch, and had 
two sons; Ewen, his heir, and John, ancestor of the 
Camerons of Culchennie and Callart. He became a vassal of 
Celestine of Lochalsh in 1472. Celestine granted him a 
charter of the lands of Kishorn in Loch Carron, and also 
appointed him constable of the Castle of Strome. Im- 
mediately after becoming a vassal of Celestine, he slew John 
of Coll, who was living at Corpach, seized his charters and 
burnt them. He was killed a few years afterwards in a 
fight with the Macdonalds of Keppoch and the Mackintoshes. 
He was known as Ailein nan Creach, or Allan of the Forays. 


He is described in the charter of 1472 as Captain of the Clan 

Ewen, son and successor of Allan, received from Alexander 
of Lochalsh in 1492 a charter of Lochiel and other lands in 
Lochaber. He fought at Blar Leine in 1544 in support of 
John Muideartach, or at any rate sent his followers to fight 
there. He married Marjory, daughter of Lachlan Mackintosh 
— Lachainn Baideanach — by his wife, Catherine, daughter of 
Duncan Grant of Freuchie, and had three sons, Donald, his 
heir, Ewen of Erracht, and John of Kinlochiel. He was 
executed at Elgin in 1547. Donald, his eldest son, hand- 
fasted in 1520 with Agnes, daughter of James Grant of 
Freuchie, grandson of Duncan of Freuchie, and came under 
obligation to marry her in the church as soon as a dispensa- 
tion could be obtained from Home. Donald had three sons 
by his wife, Ewen Beag, Donald Dubh, and John Dubh of 
Drimnadaille. He died before his father. Ewen Beag, his 
eldest son, was born about 1522, and had, about 1542, by a 
daughter of Macdougald of Dunolly, a natural son named 
Donald. He succeeded his grandfather as captain of the 
Clan Cameron in 1547. He was slain, probably at Inch- 
connel, about 1553. Donald, his natural son, was a dis- 
tinguished warrior, and is known to the traditional history 
of the Highlands as Taillear Dubh na Tuaighe, or the Black 
Tailor of the Battle-axe. In fact the man or boy who has 
never heard of Taillear Dubh na Tuaighe knows very little 
about the history of the Highlands, and nothing at all about 
the history of the Camerons. Donald Dubh succeeded his 
brother Ewen Beag. He married about 1555 Una, daughter 
of Hector Mor Maclean of Duart, but had no issue by her. 
He obtained in 1564 a charter of Letterfinlay and other 
lands. He was murdered by ambitious relations about 1565. 
He was succeeded by his nephew, Allan, son of John Dubh 
of Drunnadaille. 

Allan, son of John Dubh, was born about 1565, and was 
taken away for safety, shortly after his birth, either to 
Kilmun or to Duart, or, probably, first to Kilmun, and after- 



wards to Duart. He returned to Lochaber about 1582, but 
found it necessary in the course of a year or two to remove 
to Appin. He lived there with John Stewart, Laird of 
Appin, who had married, as his second wife, Catherine, 
daughter of Hector Mor of Duart. Whilst in Appin he 
married a daughter of John Stewart by his first wife. It 
is not known who his mother was. He fought under the 
Earl of Huntly at the battle of Glenlivet in 1594, and had 
the pleasure of attacking and routing the Mackintoshes. 
He assisted the Macleans of Duart in avenging the death 
of Lachlan Mor at the battle of Benvigory in 1598. He 
slew, in 1613, twenty of his principal followers for having 
consented to become immediate vassals of the Earl of Huntly 
in lands which had formerly belonged to him. He had by 
his wife John, Donald, Jean, Catherine, and other daughters. 
John, his eldest son, married in 1626 Margaret, daughter 
of Robert Campbell of Glenfalloch, and had two sons by 
her, Ewen and Allan. Donald, second son of Allan of 
Lochiel, was the progenitor of the Camerons of Glendessary. 
Jean, eldest daughter of Allan, was married to Ailean Dearg, 
eldest son of Donald Macdonald of Glengarry, and had by 
him Angus, who was created Lord Macdonell and Aros in 
1660. Catherine was married to Allan Maclean of Ardgour, 
and had fourteen children. Allan of Lochiel died about 
1647, and was succeeded as chief of the Camerons by his 
grandson, Ewen, Eoghann Dubh. 

Ewen, the famous Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, was one 
of the greatest men that the Highlands of Scotland have 
ever produced. He could fight like a Cameron and plan like 
a Campbell. He was born in February 1629. He was 
married three times. By his first wife, Mary, daughter of 
Sir Donald Macdonald of Sleat, he had no issue. By his 
second wife, Isabel, daughter of Sir Lachlan Maclean of 
Duart, he had three sons, John, Donald, and Allan. By his 
third wife, Jean, daughter of Colonel David Barclay of Urie, 
he had one son, Ludovick. He died in February 1719. He 
was succeeded by his son, John. 


The MacSomarlies of Glen-Nevis 

According to some writers the MacSomarlies were a 
branch of the Maclntyres. This view is clearly erroneous. 
It is possible that the Maclntyres were a branch of the 
MacSomarlies, but it is certain that the MacSomarlies were 
not a branch of the Maclntyres. According to other writers 
the MacSomarlies were MacDonalds. For this supposition 
there is not a particle of foundation. The MacSomarlies 
were a distinct clan, just as much as the MacDonalds were. 
Somarlie or Sorlie is an anglicised form of the Gaelic name 
Somhairle, or Somerled, but surely we are not to assume 
that all the Somerleds in the Highlands came from Somerled, 
thane of Argyll. The MacDonalds are a good clan, but they 
are numerous enough already without handing over the 
MacSomarlies to them. 

The pedigree of Donald, chief of the MacSomarlies, is 
given as follows in the Collectanea de Rehus Alhayiicis, 
p. 56 : Donald, son of Gillespie, son of Angus, son of Donald, 
son of SorHe, son of Ferchar, son of Dunslave. That this is 
the pedigree of the MacSomarlies of Glen-Nevis may be 
regarded as an unquestionable fact. There were no other 
MacSomarlies or MacSorlies in the Highlands who possessed 
lands of their own and constituted a distinct clan. 

The name Somerled means summer sailor — probably a 
sailor who used to plunder a little in fine weather. The 
Gaelic form of the name is Somhairle, which pronounced in 
English becomes either Somarlie or Sorlie. Somhairle is still 
a common name in Gaelic, but when rendered into English, 
or rather into Hebrew, what we hear is not Somerled but 
Samuel, a totally different name. 

Somarlie, or Sorlie, son of Ferchar, son of Dunslave, was 
the progenitor of the MacSomarlies, or MacSorlies, of Glen- 
Nevis. He was known as Somhairle Ruadh, or red-haired 
Somerled, and must have been born about the year 1225. 
He was succeeded by his son Donald, who was succeeded by 
his son Angus, who was succeeded by his son Gillespie. 



Donald, son of Gillespie, was born about 1345, and was chief 
of the Clan Somarlie about 1385. 

Somerled, son of Donald, had two sons, John and Duncan. 
Somerled, son of John, was born at least as early as 1435. 
In 1456 John, fourth Lord of the Isles, gave him a charter of 
the lands of Glen-Nevis, with the office of toiseachdair of all 
the Lochaber lands which belonged to the Lord of the 
Isles, except those held by his foster child, Lachlan Maclean 
of Duart. 

Somerled had two sons, John and Alexander. John, 
known as Iain Dileas or faithful John, succeeded his father 
as chief of the Clan Somarlie. He died without issue, and 
was succeeded by his nephew, Donald son of Alexander. 
Donald was oppressed by Lochiel, who wanted to bring the 
MacSomarlies into thorough subjection to himself Con- 
sequently, in September 1552, Donald resigned the lands of 
Glen-Nevis into the Queen's hands as superior. The lands 
were then given to the Earl of Huntly, who granted to 
Donald a new charter of them. The Earl of Huntly now 
stood as a protector to Donald against Lochiel. 

Alexander, son and successor of Donald, had two sons, 
Alexander and Allan. Alexander, son and successor of Alex- 
ander, appears on record in 1598. He was slain by Allan of 
Lochiel in 1613. He was succeeded by his first cousin, 
Alexander, son of Allan. This Alexander had two sons, 
John Mor and Donald Dubh. John Mor was chief of the 
Clan Somarlie in 1660. * Allan Cameron,' son of John Mor, 
received a charter of the lands of Glen-Nevis in 1712. As 
Allan had ceased to be a MacSorlie, and had made a Cameron 
of himself, he was not a chief ; he was only a chieftain under 

Alexander, son of John, son of Allan, was laird of Glen- 
Nevis in 1745. John, son of Ewen, son of Alexander, sold 
the estate of Glen-Nevis in 1851. 

When the Macgillonies became captains of the Clan 
Cameron, they ceased to call themselves Macgillonies and 
adopted Cameron as their surname. As they were Camerons 


by blood, and as those who had for some time been calling 
themselves Camerons were not Macgillonies, it would have 
been extremely unwise for them to try to force their own 
name on the whole clan. 

It is stated in several works that the Macgillonies of 
Strone fought against the Camerons at Corpach, when John 
Og of Coll was slain. There is no ground for this assertion. 
The Macleans had been in possession of Corpach for several 
years. The Camerons made an unexpected attack upon 
them and put them to the sword. There may have been 
some fighting, but there was no battle. Some of the 
Macgillonies of Strone — possibly persons who had been living 
with John Og of Coll — took charge of his son, John Abrach, 
a boy about two years of age, and went with him to Coll. 
They acted kindly to John Abrach and his mother — a 
daughter of Ewen Maclean of Kingerloch — but we are not 
to assume that they had been fighting against the Mac- 
gillonies or Camerons of Lochiel. 


Eev. C. M. Robertson 

{Continued from vol. iv. p. 280) 


Where a liquid is assimilated to a following liquid or 
other consonant, the preceding vowel if short, as will be 
exemplified in some of the instances to be quoted, often 
becomes long in pronunciation. Thus millse (or milse) 
sweeter, where i is short and II long, may be heard as mise 
in West Ross. The vowel in such cases is not infrequently 
marked long in writing, and certainly where the assimilated 
liquid is left out in the spelling the marking of this compensa- 
tory lengthening of the vowel may be justified ; but when 
the silenced liquid is retained in the spelling it would seem 
better to leave the vowel without the long mark. Thus, to 
mark i long would be justifiable if we were writing mise 


(cf. s6ise sub)y but would not be correct if we retained the 
liquid, milse or millse. So also in such a case as mislean, 
mentioned under Metathesis for milsean, i is justifiable in 
the former, but would not be correct in the latter. 


Slender I or II often disappears before s, as in milse and 
milsead, sweeter, in West Ross mise and misead. So in Skye 
boillsgeadh, gleaming, and soillse, brightness ; and in Suther- 
land soillse and the place-name Goillspidh, Golspie. Deill- 
seag and deiseag, a slap, find a place in most of the 
dictionaries. Mac Alpine gives the latter, and also has a verb 
d&, to slap. Soisich is more familiar to him, or at least is 
used in a greater variety of ways than soillsich, enlighten, 
while his sbise, a bolis or ball of fire in the heavens, un- 
explained by Dr. MacBain, is obviously for soillse. His 
aisinn, a dream, may have come, not direct from aisling, but 
through a form ailsing, which occurs, as we shall see, in 
Kintyre, and so with ^iseach and eisleach, a crupper, given 
by him as Jura and mainland forms. 

In abhsadh, slackening of a sail, and abhsporag, stomach 
of a cow, both northern forms apparently, written also 
respectively allsadh and allsporag, hh represents the sound 
of u, and the explanation of the forms seems to be first 
diphthongisation of a into au before II, and then assimilation 
of II to the following s. Aibhsich, exaggerate, from aibheis, 
boasting, aibheis, sea, abyss, the deep (?), appears also as 
aillsich ; but the latter form seems to be due to the influ- 
ence of aillse, a fairy, diminutive creature, pigmy, confused 
with aibhse, spectre, sprite, apparition, diminutive being. 
With MacAlpine aibheis has the meaning of a place full of 
fairies. Comparison may be made with taillse, a spectre or 
apparition, the pronunciation in some parts of the Highlands 
of aillse according to Armstrong ; it is the current equi- 
valent in Perthshire of taibhse, a ghost, and it is to be 
accounted for, doubtless, by confusion between taibhse and 




In most dialects, if not in all, n or nn is assimilated in 
annlan, condiment ; coinnle and coinnlean, gen. and plur. of 
coinneal, candle ; coinnlear, candlestick ; connlach, straw ; 
crannlach, a teal ; cuinnlean, nostril ; eunlaith, birds ; inn- 
leachd, device ; Fionnlagh, Finlay ; in annrath, distress ; 
canran, wrangling ; cunnradh, bargain ; ganradh, gander ; 
ganraich, noise ; ionraic, upright ; onrachd, solitude ; sonraich, 
appoint ; Eanruig, Henry ; in bainnse, gen. of banais, 
wedding ; coinnseas, conscience ; innse, gen. of innis, island ; 
innseadh, telling ; oinnseach, foolish woman ; sinnsear, an- 
cestor ; uinnsean, ash-wood. Puisean (from English ' poison,' 
so Arran, Kintyre, and Perth — puision, Armstrong) — has ui 
nasalised in many dialects, as North Argyll and West Ross, 
and consequently, on the analogy of words like uinnseann, is 
usually written puinsean. Innis, tell, though a vowel stands 
between nn and 5, is usually pronounced is (^ nasal), as is also 
innis, island, often when forming the first part of a place- 
Ministear, a minister, may be heard in some districts, 


e.^., Arran and Perth, without n, 'mi'istear.' 'Coinean,' 
rabbit, is often coi'an, and ionann, like, ^i'ann.' Domhnall, 
Donald, is perhaps everywhere * Do'all' or *D5ir (o nasal), 
and Raonall, Ronald, 'Raoll/ or in Skye 'Rail.' Coainneal, 
candle, is caoi'al (ao short) in North Argyll, cai'ill (a^ nasal) 
in West Ross, and cai'il (ai as ei and nasal) in Sutherland. 
Anart, linen, is a'ard in Perth and Strathspey ; and arad 
(first a nasal in both) in Sutherland ; in Arran, North Argyll, 
Skye and West Ross n is kept. 

Mh is sometimes written for nn^ e.g. by Mac Alpine in 
comhlach for connlach or conlach (which he calls ' Irish pro- 
nunciation of comhlach '), coimhseas for coinnseas, comhsaich 
for connsaich, contend, and comhspaid for connspaid, a 
quarrel. In Northern Gaelic where a and o become au and 
0X1 before long nn, mh, which often has the sound of u after 
a or 0, is liable to be written for nn where the letter has 
been assimilated in pronunciation. The West Ross word 
'crannlach,' a tulchan calf, for example, so far as the pro- 

VOL. V. F 


nunciation, which is *craulach' (au nasal), shows, might 
equally well be written cramhlach, or even cnamhlach. Thus 
are to be explained such alternative spellings as famhsgal 
and fannsgal, hurry, confusion ; gamhlas and gannlas, also 
ganndas, and in Sutherland gamhaldas, malice. Seamhas 
and seanns, good luck, with corresponding adjective seamh- 
sail and seannsail, lucky, are derived by Dr. MacBain from 
English * chance,' and, mh being sounded v by MacAlpine, 
furnish a parallel to damhsa and dannsa, dance {Celt. Rev., 
iv. 172). Tamhasg, blockhead, and tannas, tannasg (tanas 
and tannas in MacPherson's Ossian), an apparition, ghost, if 
those usual renderings are considered, would seem to be 
different words, and are so regarded by MacBain; yet the 
Highland Society's Dictionary gives ghost as one of the 
meanings of tamhasg ; and MacAlpine translates it spectre, 
apparition, ghost, knows no other meaning, and refers to it 
for the explanation of tannas. 

Annlan, condiment, is ainnleann in Arran (' ailleann '), and 
in Kin tyre ' eileann.' MacAlpine gives ^ ainnlean ' and under 
lion ainleann. In Perthshire it is alan ; in Strathspey, 
Skye, and West Ross, aulan ; in North Argyll, eulann. In 
the south of Sutherland aultan and in the north iiltan are 
heard, the vowel sound or sounds of the first syllable being 
nasal in all cases. 

Grknnda, ugly, pronounced so, only with e for a in North 
Argyll, in Arran, Kintyre and Islay gr^nna, is grada in 
Perth, Strathspey, Skye, West Ross and Sutherland. Dear- 
gannt, a flea, so Arran and Perth, in Kintyre, Islay and 
North Argyll deargann, is deargad in West Ross and Suther- 
land. N is assimilated to t in West Ross in a few cases like 
duinte, closed, sg^inte, burst, slainte, health, and nn in 
Sutherland in cainnt, speech, inntinn, mind, muinntir, people. 

Assimilation of r to Z is prevalent in Strathspey in such 
words as atharla, heifer ; Beurla, English ; comhairle, 
counsel ; earlachadh, preparation of food ; meirle, theft ; 


6irleach, inch ; Tearlach, Charles. It is found in part of 
West Ross and in Lewis in Beurla ; d5rlach, handful ; and 
the surname MacPharlain, MacFarlane ; in West Ross in 
addition in atharla and garlach, peevish creature, and in 
Lewis in fairtlich, baffle, 'faillich,' and in North Sutherland 
in Beurla. Urlar, floor, which is so pronounced in East 
Perthshire, is in MacAlpine's opinion properly unnlar, and 
is tillar in Arran, Glenlyon, Strathspey, and, with u nasal, in 
West Ross, and iiillar in North Sutherland. 

Atharnach, ' red land,' that is land cleared of a crop of 
potatoes or turnips, is athainneach in Badenoch. The word 
is popularly thought to be from e6rna, barley — ath-eorna-ach 
— which is usually sown in ^ red land,' and is written also 
aithearnach and aitheornach. 

Assimilation Externally 

A final 71 or m in proclitics also . is assimilated to or dis- 
appears before certain initial consonants, especially in the 
northern dialect. The proclitics in question include the 
article an, nan, the relative an, the plural possessive pronoun 
an, the preposition an, the interrogative an, and the con- 
junctions an and na'n if; gun'n, that; mu'n, before. For 
example, an la, the day, is a' la, and nan laogh, of the calves 
is na' laogh. So na tighean aig o! robh e, for na tighean aig 
an robh e, the houses at which he was ; na h-eoin agus a' nid 
the birds and their nests, for na h-eoin agus an nid ; chaidh 
a' losgadh, they were burnt, for chaidh an losgadh ; chaill iad 
a' saothair, they lost their labour, for an saothair, and so on. 
This loss or absence of n is seen before words beginning with 
Z, Uy r, or 5, and sometimes also before initial d or U Before 
6,y, and m, also this n, which appears as m where it has not 
been lost, is often w^anting in the north, as a' baile for am 
baile, the town ; chaidh a' bristeadh for chaidh am bristeadh, 
they were broken ; a fraoch for am fraoch, the heather ; ann 
a' fksach for ann am f ^sach, in a wilderness, a' mac for am 
mac, the son ; tha iad le a' maighstir (for am maighstir), 
they are with their master. 


Such assimilation is of course of old standing in the 
language. The Book of Deer has, for example, igginn for in 
cinn, at the head of, and naglerec for nan clerec of the 

Before the verbal particle 'do' n is sometimes lost. For 
example, in West Ross, An do chuir thu e? Did you sow 
it ? is 'Do chuir thu e ? so 'Do dhtiin thu e ? Did you close 
it ? Do ghabh thu e 1 Did you take it ? Also in Thubhairt 
e gu'n do chuir thu e, he said that you had sowed it, gu'n do 
is sounded gu'do, and so on. A more frequent occurrence in 
the North and a distinctive feature of the northern dialect is 
the loss of d in all those positions. Munro in his Gaelic 
Grammar says in a footnote (p. 207) : 'In speaking, an do, 
whether interrogative or relative, is commonly contracted into 
na ; as 'Na shil e ? for an do shil e ? Has it begun to rain ? 
Seall na ghoil e, for seall an do ghoil e (see if it has boiled), 
etc. In writing so violent an elision is hardly admissible. 
In verse, however, where the poet is obliged at times to 
reduce the two particles into one syllable, Ihe contraction is 
allowable ; more especially as the other form of it ('ndo) is so 
difficult of pronunciation, v. Ossian, Comala, 11. 38, 82, 83). 
The lines from Comala, with their renderings in the version 
by Peter M'Naughton, Grandtully, are : — 

' Na choidil righ Mh6rbheinn an treun ? ' 
('Has the brave King of Morbheinn slept?') 

' 'Na thuit MacChumhail fein 'san t-sliabh 1 

'Na thuit, a thriath a's duibhe sgeul 1 ' 
(' Has Cumhal's son fallen on the hill ? 

Has he fallen, thou chief of sad tale ? ') 

In those instances na is for the interrogative particle an 
and do. The phrase ' Na thuit ? ' Did [he] fall, is of constant 
occurrence in MacPherson's Ossian, e.g. Fingal, i. 11. 203, 263, 
265. Instances of na for an do abound in the works of Mary 
MacPherson, the Skye bardess ; and some have been quoted 
in the paper on Skye Gaelic mentioned at the beginning of 
these articles. For example : — 


* 'S ann chuir thu onair air do dhuthaich 

H uile taobh na thriall thu.' 
('You have done credit to your land everywhere you have 
gone.') P. 72 of Songs. 

* B'e chiad ni air na chrom e 
Bhi plucadh sios nam bantrach.' 

('The first thing that he began {lit. bent) to was to oppress the 
widows.') P. 121. 

' 'San d6igh na chleachdadh sibh ' for anns an d6igh (anns) an 
do chleachdadh sibh.' 
(' In the way in which you were accustomed.') P. 223. 

' Far na dh' ^raicheadh na Gaisgich.' 
('Where were reared the heroes.') Pp. 246, 260. 

*Far na sheinn mi,' ('where I sang'), p. 166; *Gus na thionndadh mi,' 
('until I turned'). P. 168. 

Where do is preceded by conjunctions with final n only n 
remains : Gu n chreach iad sinn for Gun do chreach iad 
sinn, that they plundered us, p. 34. Gu'n [Gu'n do] ghabh 
mi, that I took, p. 217. 

' 'S gu'n dhearbh thu bhuaidh m'an dhealaich sibh.' 

— gu'n for gu'n do, and m'an for mu'n do — And that thou 
provedest victorious ere you parted, p. 287. Nan [Na'n do] 
chum thu, if you had kept, p. 253. 

So in the Hymns of Donald Matheson, Kildonan, Suther- 
land, we meet with Far na [Far an do] thog thu, where you 
have built. Bis na [ris an do] chleachd thu, to whom you 
were wont. Gu'n [Gu'n do] dhibir, that [it] has forsaken. 


The prepositions do, to, and de, of, in positions in which 
they have not been worn down to a mere vowel 'a' are 
aspirated initially in the Northern, but not in the Southern 
dialect. Mary MacPherson has : — 

' Is ionnsaichibh dha'n oigridh i,' 

(' And teach it [Gaelic] to the children.') P. 38. 


And again : — 

* 'S iomadh car a chaidh dhe'n t-saoghal.' 

(' Many a change the world has seen.') P. 54. 

In Matheson's Hymns the aspirated and the unaspirated 
forms are met with sometimes within a single stanza. 
"Where the prepositions are reduced to * a/ North and South 
do not differ ; as Chaidh e a Lunainn, or even Chaidh e 
Lunainn, he went to — do — London ; Am beagan a fhuair thu 
a ghHocas, the httle jou have got of — de — wisdom. 

Variations in sound of certain aspirated consonants in 
different forms of the same word occur in Northern Gaelic. 
In Skye mh sounds v in cnkimh, bone, and u or w m the 
plural cnh,mhan ; hh i^ v in the imperatives eubh, call ; gabh, 
take ; falbh, go ; leubh, read ; s^bh, saw ; but is silent in the 
subjunctive eubhadh, the Future Indicatives gabhaidh, falb- 
haidh, and the infinitives leubhadh, s^bhadh, and dh is sounded 
in biadh, feed, but is silent in biadhadh, feeding. 

In West Hoss mh is v in sgiamh, squeal, and u or w in 
sgiamhail, squealing -, hh i^ v in sgribbh, write, skbh, a saw, 
leubh, eubh, but u {w) in sgriobhadh, writing, in the verb 
' sabhaig,' saw, and is silent in leubhadh, reading, eubhachd, 
calling ; and dh is sounded dh in luadh, full, but h in luad- 
hadh, fulling. 

Conversely in other cases the consonant has the more 
degraded pronunciation where it is final. In Easter Ross gh 
in truagh, wretched, has the sound of u, but in truaghan, a 
wretch, it has that of v. So in Sutherland hh is u in eubh, 
but V in eubhachd, and mh which is u in cnaimh and is silent 
in laimh, hand, is sounded v in the plurals cnamhan and 


Traces of eclipsis are found more or less in most dialects. 
As a prominent feature it is met with in Skye and Lewis, and 
also, it is said, in the west of Sutherlandshire. Tir nam 
beann, nan gleann, 's nan gaisgeach, land of the bens, the 
glens, and the heroes, usually pronounced Tir nam beann 
nang gleann 's nang gaisgeach, is in Skye, and presumably in 



Lewis, Tir nam 'eann, nang leann 's nang 'aisgeach. iVof 
the article, etc., is changed in sound to ng before ^, and also 
before c in Scottish Gaelic generally. Thus an guth, the 
voice, is pronounced 'ang guth,' and an cii, the dog, 'ang 
ch.,' * Whether you go or not ? ' is in Lewis Gaelic ' Eadar 
gu'n 'eid no nach teid thu 1 ' Teid, go, is itself eclipsed after 
an, gu'n, cha'n, nach, etc., in Scottish Gaelic generally i.e. it 
is pronounced ' deid ' not * t^id.' In Skye the following cases 
of eclipsis have been observed : — 

6 after the article, e.g. am baile, the town, ' am 'aile,' nam 
baile of the towns * nam aile.' So am bard, the poet, nam 
bard, of the poets, etc. 

d after the article, as an duine, the man, ' an 'nine ' ; after 
the preposition ' an ' in the phrase an deaghaidh, after, and 
after the numeral aon, one. 

g after the article, as an geamhradh, the winter, 'an 

The change does not take place regularly and is not 
carried out consistently. An exceptional instance is the name 
Ben Jianabhaig not far from Portree, written Beinn Diona- 
bhaig in Mary MacPherson's Songs (p. 23), and heard locally 
as Beinn ianabhaig. The neighbouring township is called in 
Gaelic Camus Jianabhaig, written Camstinvag by Martin, but 
D may have been changed to J after final s of Camus. 

In Badenoch such a pronunciation may sometimes be 
heard as Am bosgail e ? for Am fosgail e ? Will it open ? 

The change of initial & to m sometimes in words and in 
place-names is explained by eclipsis. For example bealaidh, 
broom, a word thought to have come to us from the Pictish 
language, is mealaich with Mac Alpine, and mealaidh in Skye ; 
binid, rennet, is minid in North Argyll, and Moness, a place- 
name near Aberfeldy, was of old Buness. 


* Metathesis,' Mr. Quiggin says, * is a frequent phenomenon 
in Gaelic dialects, as will be patent to any one turning over 


the leaves of Dinneen's Dictionary' Among the examples he 
gives from Donegal are clupaide, wrinkle in cloth, etc. ; 
Middle Irish culpait ; craorac, light red, for caor-dhearg; 
tligean, vomiting, for teilgean, from teilgim, throw, Scottish 
Gaelic tilg ; ruball, tail, for earball ; Cnochar for Conchar, 
Connor, Middle Irish Conchobar. According to Dinneen 
comhluadar, conversation, is cluadar in Derry and cruadal in 
East Ulster and Omagh. Many of the examples are common 
to Scottish Gaelic also, as ^isteacht, listening. Old Irish 
eitsecht, our eisdeachd ; altughadh, grace at meat, Old Irish 
attlugud, our altachhadh ; fuasclaim, release, our fuasgail, 
Early Irish fuaslaicim ; realt, star. Early Irish retla, our 
reul and reult ; coisreacadh, consecration, Scottish cois- 
rigeadh. Book of Deer consecrad. Old Irish coisecrad, from 
Latin consecratio. The Middle Irish comairce, protection, 
appears in Modern Irish as coimirce, comraighe, and coimrighe, 
and in Scottish Gaelic as comraich, with coimric, coimirc, etc., 
in dictionaries. The comparative of fagus, near, Irish fogus, 
is with us faisge for faigse, in Irish foigse and foisce. The 
Old Irish forail is fulair in Modern Irish and fuilear in Scottish 
Gaelic except in West Ross and Sutherland ; Cha'n fhuilear 
dhomh, I had better, it is time for me, etc., is in West Ross 
sometimes and in Sutherland usually Cha'n fhuireal. 

Latin axilla, Irish ascall, oscaill, ocsal, Middle Irish ochsal, 
usually achlais in Scottish Gaelic, is asgaill in Arran and 
aslaic in Perthshire, while asgall, asgailt, and asgnaill are given 
in dictionaries and aslaich in the margin of Proverbs xix. 24. 
Sasunn, England, for old Sagsunn, is in Arran Sasgunn, 
though the adjective is there Sasunnach. Feile, kilt, in 
North Argyll eile, is eibhle {hh sounded v) in Arran ; Shaw 
gives ebhladh, and the Highland Society's Dictionary has 
eibhleadh from Gillies. Eibhleag, live coal, is eilbheag, and 
earball, tail, generally urball, but sometimes ulabar, all in 
Arran. Diordaoin, Thursday, is Di-daoirn in Arran, Islay, 
and Jura. Aonghas, Angus, is Naoghas in Arran, Kintyre, 
Islay, and Skye, and seangan, an ant, is sneaghan in Arran, 
Kintyre (pronounced ' sneagan ' in those two districts), Islay, 



Perth, and West Ross, snioghan in Badenoch, and snioghag 
in Sutherland. 

Barail, opinion, is balair in Perth, Badenoch, and Strath- 
spey, and is written ballir in the Book of the Dean of Lismore. 
Coinneal, candle, is coilinn in Perth and coillinn in Badenoch ; 
fairtlich, baffle, is faltraich in Badenoch and Strathspey, and 
earball, tail, is ealabar in the Laggan division of Badenoch. 

Slender Is or Us sometimes becomes si. Foillsich, reveal, 
from foUus, may be heard as foislich ; and soillsich, brighten, 
from solus, as soislich, e.g. in North Argyll, West Ross, and 
Lewis. Mislean, sweet meadow grass, a form used by 
Duncan Ban Macintyre, is for milsean, from mills, sweet, and 
soislean, phosphorescence, in West Ross, is for soillsean. 
Drisleach for drilseach, glittering, occurs in dictionaries. 
MacAlpine has disle and dillse as comparative of dileas, 
faithful, etc., and Armstrong's duisleag for duileasg, dulse, 
may be noted. 

Sometimes the reverse takes place. In Kintyre ailsing 
for aisling, vision, and cuilse for cuisle, pulse, may be heard. 
In Perth and Strathspey, where the forms foillsich, soillsich, 
dillse are retained, there seems to be a preference for Is or Us. 
Isle, lower, comparative of iosal, is there illse, and so with 
the related forms islean, inferiors, * illsean,' and islich, to 
lower, Mllsich.' Similarly uaisle, nobler, nobility, from 
uasal, noble, is uaillse, a form occurring also in Badenoch, and 
so * uaillsean,' gentry ; * daoine uaillse,' gentlemen. Arm- 
strong gives illse, illsich, uaillse and uaillsean ; and MacAlpine 
writes uaisle, but pronounces uaillse. 

In all these forms except the two from Kintyre I or U 
when standing before s is long, but when s precedes I the 
vowel, if short, is lengthened. (Drilseach is properly drill- 
seach with long U.) In isle, for example, i is long while in 
illse it is short, and U is long. So with foislich (oi lengthened), 
etc. In uaisle, uaillse, etc., the vowel — diphthong — is already 
long and does not change, but U is long in the latter form. 

In Northern Gaelic, or at all events in several of the 
northern dialects, m often changes places with a following I or 


r. Imleag, navel, is * ilimeag/ and imlich, to lick * ilimich ' in 
Badenoch, Strathspey, North Argyll, West Ross, North 
Sutherland and Lewis ; and imrich, removal, is irimich in all 
except Lewis. lomraidh or imridh, must, is irimidh in Bade- 
noch and firimidh in North Argyll and North Sutherland. 
Lomradh, a fleece, fleecing, is luramadh in Badenoch and 
loramadh in Sutherland. lomradh, report, is uramadh in 
North Argyll, and ioramadh in West Ross and Lewis, while 
iomradh or iomramh, rowing, also uramadh in North Argyll, 
is ioramag in West Ross and ioramadh in North Sutherland. 
The word iorram, a boat-song, rowing-song, explained by 
MacBain as air-ram, ' at-oar,' seems rather to be a metathesis 
of the imperative ' iomair ' of the latter verb used as a noun, 
lomair is heard as ioraim in West Ross. In West Ross and 
North Sutherland iomlaid, exchange, is iolamaid, and iomrall, 
error, is ioramall in West Ross and Lewis. Lomnochd, 
naked, in West Ross and South Sutherland luramachd, 
and in both North and South Sutherland and in Lewis 
loramachd, shows dissimilation combined with metathesis. 
Seamrag, clover, is siormag, * siuramag,' in North Argyll, 
and both searamag and silimeag in West Ross. Areas for 
acras, hunger, and arcach for acrach, hungry, occur in Strath- 
spey and in West Ross. The English word ' cork ' has become 
crocas, and deisciobul is * deisbigil,' both in West Ross. The 
English cumber borrowed into Gaelic as cumraich, cuimrig 
and coimrig, occurs in the south of Sutherland as cumraig 
and cuirmaig, and in the north as coirmig. According to the 
new dictionary by MacDonald, fuaidne, peg of a warping- 
frame, is in Uist fuaidhne, and is also written fuaithne, and 
has plurals fuaintean and fuaircean. The Sutherlandshire 
word iolaman, a covering of skin for the mouth of a milk- 
pail, is probably to be explained as iomallan, a remainder or 
piece of a skin used for the purpose. The word is used by 
Rob Donn. Dudlachd, duldachd, dudlach so North Argyll, 
dubhlachd so West Ross, Diilach so Glenlyon, all mean the 
depth or darkest part of the wintre, ' dark December.' 



(Waulking Song) 

Hill-in liill-6 horo-eile 
Hill-in liill-6 hill-in ra bli6 
Hill-in hill-6 horo-^ile. 

Dhirich mi mach a bheinn ghruamaich 
Thearnaich mi lag an f hraoich uaine. 

Shuidh mi air a chnoc bu bhuaidhche 
Shil mi na deoir chruinne chruaidhe. 

Chir mi mo cheann, dh' f hag mi ghruaig ann, 
Thuit i air mo ghluin na dualaibh. 

Suil dh' an d'thug mi thar mo ghuaillinn 
Chunna mi tighinn na h-uaislean. 

Coltas Dhomhnuill bhain is Euaraidh 
Is Somhairle buidhe a' chuil dualaich. 

Ged a bha, cha robh mo luaidhs' ann 
Cha robh, a ghaoil, b'f hada nam thu. 

'S aithne dhomh f hin na chuir nam thu 
Meud mo ghaoil is lughad m' f huath ort. 

'S gun mo chrodh laoigh bhi air buaile 
'S gun mo ghearrain 6g' air chruadhlach. 

'S gun mo bhraithrean 6g mun cuairt domh 
'S iad air chiil nan tonnan f huaraidh. 

'S m' athair a bhi marbh fo'n f huar-lic 
'S mo mhathair bhi na laidhe suas ris. 

mile mollachd air na chuir uam thu 
'S a chuir thu an luib te f huadaich ! 

Chaidil thu raoir air a cluasaig 

'S gun d' f hag sid mo chadal-s' luaineach. 

Ach ged is ise 's motha buaile 
Gur a mise 's pailte dh' uaisle. 


Cruinnichidh mo bhraithrean mun cuairt domh 
Luchd na leadan 's nan cul dualach. 

'Dhireadh a mach ris na fuar-bheann 
Dol a shealg na h-earba ruadha. 

Leagta damh dubh is damh ruadh leo 
Leagta 'n eilid is an ruadh-chearc. 


Our readers have heard with much concern of the death of 
one of our most esteemed contributors, as well as a foremost 
Gaelic author, which took place at Edinburgh on the 18th of 
May last. Mr. MacKechnie was born on the 25th of Decem- 
ber 1836, in Glengarisdale, an almost inaccessible spot on the 
shore of Corry vreckan, in the north end of the island of Jura. 
There were only two families living in the lonely glen, and 
there was of course no school. But his maternal grandfather 
lived some miles away in the neighbourhood of a small side 
school, and thither the boy was sent betimes, and was taught 
to read and write. While a growing lad he had an active 
country life, ever on the hill or on the sea, shooting and fish- 
ing — an experience which had no small share in moulding his 
character. He found his way to Glasgow at an early age, 
where he managed to improve his education by attending 
evening classes, and by private reading. Thereafter he 
migrated to Edinburgh, where, with one or two short inter- 
missions, he made his home. After some experience in various 
offices he engaged in business on his own account. He was 
fairly successful, but his health, for many years precarious, 
broke down. He retired from business and lived on a modest 
competency a quiet life in the city until the end came. 

It is not an uncommon thing for pushing Highland lads 
brought up in out-of-the-way localities, by their own exer- 
tions, backed, not infrequently, by great self-denial on the 
part of their parents, to overcome the defective education of 


their boyhood, and make their way in the world. All of us 
can count up scores who went through much the same ex- 
perience as Mr. MacKechnie in this respect. The more 
common outlet for lads of ' parts ' has been among us to aim 
at one or other of the learned professions, the ministry being 
hitherto the favourite. Mr. MacKechnie does not seem to 
have had any ambition or ' call ' in that direction. Had the 
choice been left to him he would probably have selected 
literature as his vocation. But meanwhile he must live ; and 
poet though he was he was possessed of robust common sense. 
So, as he would say himself, he pulled the nearest oar, 
with the firm resolve, however, that when opportunity offered, 
he would exchange it for his favourite one. 

His first experience in authorship was, as was natural, in 
Gaelic song. There are pieces still floating about which he 
composed while a young lad in Jura which many of his 
friends consider well worthy of being printed, but he himself 
was of a different opinion. In 1875-6 he contributed short 
poems to the Gael, a periodical flourishing at the time, under 
a favourite designation of his. Am Bard Luideagach. The 
distinctive note of intellectual culture, as well as of imagina- 
tion, struck in these compositions, combined with their 
vigorous and terse expression, attracted attention ; and 
henceforward thoughtful Gaelic readers eagerly read every 
scrap which appeared over the whimsical signature. Mean- 
while the poet's mental growth and development proceeded. 
He made himself well acquainted with the best authors in 
modern Gaelic literature. But neither his intellect nor his 
imagination could be satisfied with the scanty fare which 
Gaelic literature, good of its kind, provided. The poet read 
and made himself master of the great English authors in 
prose and verse. He knew, as few Gaelic poets do, Shake- 
speare, Wordsworth, Tennyson, and Browning, while among 
his favourite prose authors were Carlyle, Huxley, and 
Spencer. In later years he was much attracted by the 
Persian poet, Omar Khayydm, and rendered many of that 
author's pieces into Gaelic verse. Mr. MacKechnie, though not 


what one would call an omnivorous reader, was all along an 
ardent student. His intellectual force and literary judgment 
led him to the best authors. These and these alone he 
studied, and their influence is manifest in his writings. No 
one can read * The Brook,' ' The Voice of the Sea,' * The 
Dialogue between the Bard and the Shepherds,' which is an 
eloquent and characteristic commentary on the text, ' What 
mean ye by these stones ? ' without tracing an echo of Words- 
worth, for example, almost in every quatrain. * And what for 
no ? ' If we can assimilate and make our very own the spirit 
and best thoughts of the highest minds, the more we read 
and reproduce of them the better for all concerned. So 
worked Dugald Buchanan and Donald MacKechnie, and all 
Gaelic readers have benefited thereby. The only regret is 
that both authors wrote so little. 

A word must be said about the author's prose writings. 
In melody and rhythm several Gaelic poets, dead and living, 
reached to higher perfection than can justly be claimed for 
MacKechnie's verse. I do not know that any Gaelic writer, 
of modern times at any rate, excels him in prose. I have 
said elsewhere that there were only three men known to me 
who could as stylists be fitly compared with him — the two 
Macleods, for to judge from the few specimens which Dr. 
John Macleod of Morvern was prevailed upon to write, he 
may justly be named along with his elder but hardly more 
gifted brother, and Lachlan Maclean of Coll, a very dififerent 
man, but with a gift of diction and idiom all his own. It 
will be admitted that the dialogues in which Caraid nan 
Gaidheal gives expression to the ideas of the Highland 
crofters and fishermen of his day are inimitable, and worthy 
of even Dickens, while the ecclesiastical flavour which sur- 
rounds them detracts little, if anything, from their value. 
Mr. MacKechnie's monologues are in their ideas and setting 
as difierent from these as can well be imagined. Here the 
highly trained intellect of a very capable man gives his own 
views of men and things, with a probing and questioning 
almost Socratic in its patience and persistence, and with a 


terseness and crispness of phrase more akin to French than 
to Gaelic prose, but with the result that the monologue is 
read to the very end by the thoughtful student with equal if 
not even greater interest than the dialogue. The achieve- 
ment is the more remarkable when one remembers that 
MacKechnie wrote these papers frequently on a sickbed ; that 
he left the Highlands at a very early age ; and that during 
his whole life his visits to his native district were compara- 
tively rare, while his connection with Highland life in the 
city was intermittent. And yet his command of Gaelic 
diction and idiom was as correct and easy as though he had 
never left Jura. A mild-mannered, high-spirited gentleman, 
he possessed the gift of forcible and apt expression in an 
unusual degree. It was probably inherited. He used to 
say that he never met a man whose conversation in GaeHc 
equalled his father s in directness and point. And as long as 
he lived he wrote regularly to his mother regarding a word 
or an idiom upon which he felt any doubt. The Gaelic- 
speaking people are eminently conservative in many of their 
ways. Still we have made some progress, forward, back- 
ward, or crab-like, since the Macleods and Maclean wrote 
Gaelic, seventy to eighty years ago. Maclean and Mac- 
Kechnie were both men of humour, each in his way ; and 
perhaps as good an example as any by which to compare 
them is to be found in the prefaces to their respective books. 
As is well known, Maclean printed in 1837 a volume entitled 
Adam and Eve, the object being to prove that Gaelic, not 
Hebrew, was the language of our first parents. In order to 
fit him to write such a work Maclean did honestly acquire 
some knowledge of Hebrew. Still he seems to have felt that 
the reader on seeing such a display of Celtic and Semitic 
philology might suspect that the author received some assist- 
ance from friendly Hebraists. So he concluded his preface 
with the following sentence : * Aon f hacal, agus 's e so e, — 
Gabh lethsgeul mearachdan a' chl5 bhruthaidh, tha iad lion- 
mhor; Gabh lethsgeul laigse an ughdair, tha imor; agus O ! cuir 
air an athair cheart i, oir cha robh lamh riamh no corrag mu'n 


obair a leanas ach an lh,mh so.' When Mr. MacKechnie, four 
years ago, published the Fear-cidil he was deeply anxious as 
to the success of the book (who would not be?), but he 
affected an air of indifference which deceived no one, but which 
sat well upon him, a sturdy independence being a prominent 
feature of his character, and addressed the reader thus : 
' Tha mise cur a mach an leabhair so, cha'n ann a chionn gu 
bheil moran iarraidh aig an t-saoghal air, ach a chionn gur e 
mo thoil fhein sin a dheanamh . . . Mo bhean, aig nach 'eil 
facal Gaidhlig, an deigh dhi aon de na duilleagan a sgrtidadh 
gu poncail 's an ceann cearr rithe, thuirt i nach deanadh e 
feum ; gu'm b' fhearr dhomh mo phiob a lasadh le m' leabhar 
na daoine bhi gaircachdaich mhagaidh orm. Thuirt mi rithe 
na'm paigheadh iad air son mo leabhair, gu robh mi coma co 
dhiii ghaireadh no chaoineadh iad. ' Ma tha/ arsa mise, 
* duin' ann as lugha mo chiataich dheth na gach duin' eile, 's 
e am fear nach urrainn gaire cridheil a dheanamh ; agus, 'na 
dheighsan, am fear, ma's fhior e fhein, nach teid aig' air 
breug innseadh. Fhaic thu, thig an da ni sin, an gaire 's a' 
bhreug, cho nadurra do dhuine ri tarruing analach, 's ciod a 
th' ann da ach a bhi breabadh an aghaidh nan dealg, 's a' 
buaireadh an fhreasdail, a bhi cur an aghaidh naduir.' It is 
satisfactory to know that the book has been sold out, and 
that there is a prospect of a new and much enlarged edition 
being issued shortly. 

Readers of Gaelic scattered over the world will miss for 
many a day the delightful productions of this capable man, 
while his many personal friends, together with the inhabitants 
of ' Diiira chreagach chiar ' deeply sympathise with his sorrow- 
ing widow and family in the loss of a man of great talent, 
high character, gentle manner, and kind heart. 



OCTOBEE 15, 1908 

(Translated from the Betha Adamndin, printed in Anecdota from Irish MSS., 
No. II., from MS. No. 4190-4200, fol. 29-33, Biblioth^ue Eoyale, Brussels.) 


Cap. 1. Accinge sicut vir lumbos tuos. — The Holy Spirit, the 
Spirit which excels all other spirits, the Spirit which hath 
illumined the Church of the two-fold Covenant ^ with the grace 
of wisdom and prophecy, that Spirit it is which hath inspired 
these words through a man of the grace of God, even Job the 
afflicted, saying : Accinge, etc. ; that is, it was to praise that 
holy man that God spake to the devil : Numquid considerasti 
servum meum Job, etc. 

Many holy and righteous men, both of the Old and the 
New Covenant, have fulfilled this teaching ; to wit, they have 
subdued and restrained their flesh and have shown many 
examples in well-doing to peoples and to churches ; even as 
it was fulfilled by the ray, the flame, the precious stone, the 
shining lamp, whose festival and commemoration fall at this 
time and season, namely Sanctus Adamnanus, the holy arch- 
presbyter Adamnan. 

Cap. 2. It is, then, at this time that we are told how 
Adamnan was addressed by the devil, who came to him in 
human form ^ to assail him, because the men of Munster had 

^ Lit. ' the two-fold Church.' 2 ^^^ < countenance.' 

VOL. V. G 


forcibly constrained him to go to Adamnan ; and so he came 
with many questions. One of the questions was whether the 
devil had sinned in [his original angelic] form or in [his 
fallen] deformity, and whether Adam had transgressed wit- 
tingly or through ignorance. * 'Tis [a] daring [question]/ said 
Adamnan. 'Marvel not/ quoth the warrior. *He who 
addresses thee is one that knoweth ; for I was present when 
it befell.'^ Adamnan gazes at him wrathfully and straight- 
way makes the sign of the cross in his face. Thereupon the 
man of tribulations departed from his sight, leaving his stench 
behind in the assembly ; so that the whole multitude (con- 
gregation ?) recognised that it was the devil in the shape of 
man who had gone [forth] to deceive the multitudes. And 
the name of God was magnified through his expulsion by 

Cap. 3. Another time Adamnan was in the royal assembly 
of Conall and Coirbre at Assaroe levying his tribute. There 
comes the heir to the crown of MacAnmirech, to wit, Flann- 
abra son of Cummascach, [bringing] with him in custody a 
female prisoner, who had killed another woman, that he 
might know Adamnan's will concerning her ; and he said to 
the cleric : * Deliver a righteous judgment on this woman 
who hath killed the other woman.' Dixit Adamnan — and a 
flush of wrath (?) came over him — ' What else seemeth right 
to thee save to put her to death ? ' * Who shall put her to 
death ? ' said the warrior. ' One whom no mother hath borne,' 
said Adamnan. ' Such a one am I,' said the warrior, ' for I 
was not born at all, but was taken forth through my mother's 
side after her death.' * I know not that counter-rule (?),' said 
Adamnan. * Nevertheless, God hath delivered the woman ; 
and thou shalt not go without punishment, for thou thyself 
shalt die speedily, and no descendant of thine shall hold 
kingship, nor shall any man of thy race ever have a band 
of soldiers outnumbering five.' Then Adamnan took the 
kingship from the children of Dungal mac [Elodach for 
the race of Loegaire son of Fergus son of] Ailell king of 

1 roba-sa hi fiad-naissi in cuta. cuta=chota, gen. of cuit ? 



the Hy Echach, after they had sworn by^ the hand of 

Cap. 4. Moreover, Adamnan took the kingship from 
Irgalach, grandson of Conaing and his children, because he 
had slain Niall mac Cernaig in defiance of Adamnan. 

A decree went forth from Finnachta, son of Dunchad, 
king of Tara, that the land of Columbcille should have [but] 
equal immunity [from burdens] with the land of Patrick and 
Findia and Ciard-n, to wit, that it [too] should come under 
bondage. That thing was told to Adamnan, and it seemed 
not right in his eyes ; for the men of Erin had granted to 
Columbcille, because of the excellence of his race above all 
other saints in Erin, that his land should be free from burdens. 
Said Adamnan : * Short shall be the life of the king by whom 
this proclamation hath been made ; he shall be slain by his 
own kindred, and there shall be no ruler of his race till Doom, 
nor shall any man bearing his name be in the kingship of 
Tara.' And even so it came to pass. 

Cap. 5. Conall Oirgnech, son of Congal, king of the race 
of Maine, said that he would not accept the law of Adamnan. 
Said his brother Connla : ' Were I the king, I would accept 
the law.' Then Conall derided his brother's feebleness of 
spirit. Said Adamnan : ' Short shall be the life of Conall, 
and a dog's death shall carry him off; and there shall be no 
ruler of his race over Tethba till Doom. And Connla son of 
Congal shall be ruler, and by his descendants shall the king- 
ship be held, unless they withstand my successor.' And so 
it came to pass. 

Moreover, Adamnan took the kingship from Cathusach, son 
of Eochu, king of Dalriada, and from his children for ever. And 
he took the kingship over the Hy Fidgenti from Flaithbe of the 
race of the sons of Ere and from his children for ever, and 
gave it to the race of Laippe of the Hy Echach of Munster, 
because he had slain Dungal son of Fergus. 

Cap. 6. Another time Adamnan went to the province of 
Leinster to contest the possession of Leix of Telach Bregmon 

^ Lit. 'beneath.' 


against the community of Glendalough. Cellach son of 
Gerthide it was who was king of Leinster at the time, and 
Dubgal ^ was abbot of Glendalough. Adamnan went to them 
upon the hill. No one rose before him ; for the erenagh had 
said that it behoved him not to rise before Adamnan, for that 
he was a bishop and Adamnan [only] a priest. But Murchad 
son of Bran rose before him : a lord of that district he. Then 
Adamnan said unto them : * Not humble have ye been towards 
me, in that ye rose not before us. . . . The bishop, first of 
all, who rose not in act of humility, he shall rise to commit a 
shameful sin, and shall persist in that sin to the day of his 
death ; and he shall die in the arms of a harlot and that 
neither afield nor at home ; he shall be a denizen of hell ; nor 
shall it be long ere this befall him. The king, again, out of 
his kingship shall he rise before the man who hath risen 
before me, namely, Murchad son of Bran.' And he told 
Murchad to rise [and come] with him, for that he would be 
slain if he tarried on the hill. The men of Leinster went to 
Murchad and made him king ; and Cellach went in exile to 
Congal, son of Fergus, king of Tara. [Then] Congal accom- 
panied Cellach against the men of Leinster, with the hosts 
of the Hy Neill, until he reached Farnagh. Adamnan went 
into the provinces of Connacht till he met them at that hill. 
Adamnan said to Congal that Cellach should not be made 
king in defiance of the command of God and of Adamnan 
himself Congal said that the affairs of the churches would 
be settled according to the will of Adamnan, but that to him- 
self belonged the disposition of king and people. However, 
Adamnan declared that Cellach should not be king ; and that 
there should not be a ruler of his race over Leinster for ever, 
and that each man of his offspring should be worse than those 
that went before. He said, moreover, to Congal, son of 
Fergus : ' Thou shalt not be king from this day forth ; and 
thou shalt not reach thy own land alive ; a sudden death 
shall carry thee off, and there shall never be ruler sprung 
from thee.' And all came to pass as Adamnan said. 

1 Dubhguail MS. 


Cap. 7. Once when Adamnan was going round (past ?) a 
graveyard in Tory [Island], the saint gazed at the graveyard 
and blessed it, and said : ' The body of a woman with child 
is in the graveyard, and it is an offence to the saints that she 
should be there. Yonder is her grave, open it and take [the 
body] to the sea-shore. ' There are,' said Adamnan, ' four men 
in that graveyard ; and if they should pray to God to turn 
the sea that is between Tory and the mainland into dry land, 
or to uplift the sky from the earth if it should fall on it, it 
would be done at their request.'^ 

Cap. 8. The Saxons of the north went to Erin and laid 
waste Magh Bregh as far as Bealach Diiin, and carried off 
great spoil of captives, men and women. The men of Erin 
besought Adamnan to go to the Saxons to ask for their spoils. 
Adamnan went to ask for the spoils ; and he came upon a 
stretch of sea-coast,^ long (wide ?) was its beach and swift its 
tide. Such is its swiftness, that the best horse in Saxonland 
beneath a good rider, with its back to the waves, when the 
tide is coming in, will scarce bear its rider to land [even] 
swimming, for the extent of the beach and the swiftness of 
the tide. The Saxons would not suffer Adamnan to land 
on the shore. ' Draw your coracles upon the shore,' said 
Adamnan to his followers, ' for both the sea and the land are 
subject to the will of God and nought can be done against 
God.' The clerics did as they were told them. Adamnan 
with his crozier drew a circle round the coracles, and God 
made the strand firm beneath the coracles, and made a high 
wall of the sea around them, so that it was on an island they 
were ; and the sea went past the island to its bounds and no 
harm befell them. When the Saxons saw that great miracle, 
trembling laid hold of them for fear of Adamnan, and they 
granted him his full will. And the will of Adamnan was 
that the entire spoil should be given to him and that the 
Saxons should never make another raid on Ireland. And 
Adamnan brought back the entire spoil. 

1 The translation given of this sentence is conjectural : the text here is probably 
corrupt. ^ MS. tracht rompa : leg. t. romra ? 


Cap. 9. Another time it happened that Adamnan was on 
a Sunday in the northern part of Magh Bregh, to wit, in 
Hy mic Uais. There it was that a hundred cooked sheep 
were given to him, and amongst them a hound which had 
been cooked [Hkewise]. Through the grace of the Holy 
Spirit, Adamnan discerned the hound among the sheep, 
and he said to the victuallers, ' Which of you hath given 
us the hound among the sheep ? ' Each of them swore 
severally that it was not he. Then said Adamnan to the 
hound : * In the name of the Lord, arise quickly and make 
known to us thy master.' The hound rose at once at the 
word of Adamnan and sprang on his master and bore him 
to the ground. Adamnan asked the man : ' How many of 
you have had a hand in this deed ? ' ' Four men of the 
Hy Cuirb,' said the man. Then spake Adamnan, cursing 
them : — 

' A curse upon ^ them and around them, who are . . . 
Out of Uachtar Aird I pronounce it on the Hy Cuirb.' 

And he said that their posterity should never outnumber 
four men. 

Cap. 10. It happened on a time that the body of Bruide 
mac Bili, king of the Picts, was brought to lona. A sore 
grief was his death to Adamnan ; and he said that the body 
of Bruide should be brought to his house that night. And 
he kept watch by the body in the house till morning. On 
the morrow morning when the body began to move and to 
open its eyes, then it was that a certain austere devotee came 
to the door of the house and said : ' If there is likelihood of 
Adamnan's raising the dead, I declare that no cleric who 
shall come in his place shall be made abbot unless he [too] 
raise the dead.' 'There is some justice in that,' said 
Adamnan. ' If it be more fitting, let us bestow a blessing 
on the body and on ^ the soul of Bruide.' [Then] Bruide once 
more sent forth his spirit to heaven, with the blessing of 

^ Lit ' into.' 2 jr^i^^ < ii^to.' 


Adamnan and of the community of lona. Then it was that 
Adamnan said : — 

' Many wonders worketh the King who was born of Mary : 
Life [He giveth] to Scuaban in Mulle, death to Bruide mac Bili. 
'Tis strange — after he hath been in the kingship of the people — 
A hollow withered oak-stump round the son of the king of 

Cap. 11. Another time Adamnan was in lona fasting for 
three days and three nights in his house with closed doors, 
without coming to the monastery. A few saintly (perfect) 
[monks] went to the house to see how the cleric fared. They 
looked through the key-hole and saw a most beautiful little 
boy on Adamnan's lap. Moreover Adamnan was fondling the 
child ; so that they were sure that it was Jesus who had 
come in the form of a babe to cheer Adamnan. 

Cap. 12. Another time when Adamnan was in lona a 
corpse was brought to the island. The bell is rung.^ All go 
to meet it save Adamnan. When they reached the sea, the 
corpse rose from its coracle of hide and said to them : ' Ye 
should have sought a master of learning to converse with me 
rather than come to fetch me to my burial. [Thereupon] 
it propounded many strange (difficult, mysterious) questions 
to them, which were brought to Adamnan, and he solved 
them all. ' Ask of Adamnan,' said the corpse, ' (for well doth 
he solve questions) the word which is in the baptismal service, 
what is meant thereby, namely : urget te MelthieV They 
tell that to Adamnan. Dixit Adamnan: * From hell that 
question was propounded to Columbcille, and no wonder that 
Amelthiel should be the name of the rank [of the heavenly 
hierarchy] from which the devil fell by transgression. Open 
the grave ^ (?) of Columbcille,' said Adamnan. It was done 
even so, and Adamnan pronounced a blessing in the direction 
of the corpse. Then was heard the outcry and clamour of 
Satan as he departed from the corpse to hell. 

Cap. 13. Among the special gifts of Adamnan were 
preaching and instructing. In the last year of his life he 

^ Lit. ' struck.' ^ Oslaiccedh in erdain (text) : leg. oslaiccidh ? 



used to preach that about the festival of John tribulation 
would come upon the men of Erin and Alba. A stranger 
was wont to visit Colman of Cruachan Aigle (Croaghpatrick), 
to wit, an anchorite who was in Connacht, and this man used 
to tell Colman of many wonders : and he told him what 
Adamnan was prophesying [namely], tribulation to the men 
of Erin and Alba about the festival of John. ' Verily ' (?) ^ 
quoth Colman. * It will prove true,' said the man. * This is 
the tribulation, that Adamnan shall go to heaven on the 
festival of John. It is a great happening, and a great sorrow 
it is in the west of the world. And send thou word to him,' 
said the man. Colman sent that message to Adamnan. * 'Tis 
likely that will be true,' saith Adamnan, ' that I should go to 
our [heavenly] home in the name of God and of Columbcille.' 
Et postea cecinit : — 

' If death should come to me in Hy, 
'Twill be a deliverance ^ (?) of mercy, 
I know not beneath blue heaven 
A spot ^ which were better for (my) 

last hour.' 

Cap. 14. a righteous man indeed was this man, with 
purity of nature like a patriarch; a true pilgrim like 
Abraham; meek and forgiving of heart, like Moses; a 
praiseworthy psalmist hke David ; a treasury of knowledge 
like Solomon ; a chosen vessel for proclaiming the truth like 
the Apostle Paul ; a man full of the grace and favour of the 
Holy Spirit like the youth John ; a lovely garden, admirable 
with plants (?) ; a vine-branch with fruitfulness ; a shining 
fire with flames to give warmth and heat to the sons of life 
in kindling and zeal of charity; a lion in strength and 
power; a dove in meekness and simplicity; a serpent in 
cunning and prudence towards good ; meek, lowly and gentle 
towards the sons of life ; very austere and harsh towards the 
sons of death ; a slave in toil and service for Christ ; a king 
in dignity and power for binding and loosening, for delivering 

1 Tc^text. ('sUence'?) 

Lit. 'taking.' 

3 Fottan, ' sod ' ? 



and imprisoning, for slaying and giving life. When the hour 
of his death drew nigh, the holy Adamnan sent forth his 
spirit heavenwards to the Lord whom he served. But his 
body is still with us in this present world, with honour and 
reverence, and (working) miracles every day. Great as his 
glory may be now, it shall be greater on the last (?) day, 
when he shall shine like the sun, and shall put forth as 
fruit (?) his preaching and his fair deeds, his pilgrimage, his 
chastity and his humility to the Lord of the elements. In 
the unity of the nine orders of heavens who have done no 
sin; in the unity of (the) saints and holy virgins of this 
world, of patriarchs and prophets, of apostles and disciples 
of Jesus ; in the unity of the Godhead and humanity of the 
Son of God ; in the unity which is higher than all unity else, 
the Unity of the Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit ; 
I claim (? desire, entreat) the mercy of God through the 
intercession of Adamnan, that I may reach that unity in 
scecula soeculorum. Amen. 


Cap. 3 

Conail. — Tyrconnell, Co. Donegal. 
Coirpre. — Barony of Carbury, Co. Sligo. 
JEss Euaidh. — Assaroe, on R. Erne. 

Cap. 4 

lorgalach ua Gonaing. — According to the Annals of Ulster, lorgalach Ua Conaing 
was killed by the Britons (iugulatus est a Britonibus) on Inis mac Nessan (Ireland's 
Eye) in 702. He had in the previous year killed Niall mac Cernaig, who (accord- 
ing to MacFirbisig) was under the protection of Adamnan. 

Finnachta mac Dunchadha. — Finnachta Fledach (the Festive) mac Dunchadha, 
grandson of Aed SUine, was King at Tara from 675 to 695, in which year he was 
killed by two kinsmen, great-grandsons of Aed Sldine. According to Mac Firbisig, 
Finnachta had befriended Adamnan when the latter was a schoolboy, and when 
Finnachta became Ardri, Adamnan was his anmchara (confessor). The cause assigned 
by MacFirbisig for the rupture between Finnachta and Adamnan was the remission 
of the Boroimhe Laighean or Leinster tribute, which Finnachta granted on the 
intercession of St. Moling, a step of which Adamnan disapproved ; Finnachta, how- 
ever, did penance, and was pardoned by Adamnan. Neither the Annals of Ulster 
nor Mac F. mention the cause of the ^dispute in the text — namely, Finnachta's 



proposal to levy dues on the Church lands belonging to the brotherhood of Columb- 
cille, which had hitherto been free, exemption having been granted to Columbcille 
on account of his royal descent. As Adamnan himself claimed kinship with Columb- 
cille, his pride of race, as well the interests of his order, was probably concerned in 
the issue. 

Cap. 5 

Conall Oircniuch. — C. Oircnech was King of Coirpre (Carbury, Co. Sligo), and 
according to A.V. fell in the Battle of Bodbgnu (Slieve Banun, Co. Roscommon) in . 
680. Why Tethba should be mentioned in connection with him is not apparent. 

Ui Fidgenti. — A sept occupying the Barony of Coshma, Co. Limerick. 

Ui Eachach M. — Iveagh or Ivahagh, Co. Cork. 

Cap. 6 

Laighsi T. B. — Laighis or Leix in Queen's County ; Bregmon is a hill {telach, 
tulach) in the neighbourhood. 

Cellach. — Called also C. Derg (Cdin Adam., § 18) and C. Cualann (A.V.), King 
of Leinster ; one of the subscribers to Adamnan's law ; his death is given under 715, 

Dubgal. — According to A.V. Dubgal (not Dubguail), Abbot of Glendalough, 
died (periit) in 712. He was a bishop as well as abbot, hence his assumption of 
superiority towards Adamnan. 

Aircinnech. — An erenagh was a manager of Church lands and property, and 
might be a layman ; see Fis Adamn., cap. 25. Dubgal seems to have combined the 
worldly and the ecclesiastical function. 

Murchad mac Brain. — Mentioned in A.V. as raiding Cashel (715) and Magh 
Breg (721), and as one of the victors in the Battle of Almuin (722) ; his death is 
given under 726, where he is called King of Leinster, 

Gongal mac Fergusa. — Congal Cinninghair (so called from Ceannonaghair, at the 
head of Mulroy Lough, Co. Donegal) was King of Ireland from 704, and died, 
according to A.V., in 710, ' subita morte, .i. do bidg ' (i.e. of a fit). According to Keat- 
ing, ' This Congall was a cruel persecutor of the Irish Church, and burned the regular 
and secular clergy at Kildare without mercy or distinction. But the divine 
vengeance pursued him and punished him with a sudden and unlamented death.' 

Cap. 7 
Toraig. — Tory Island off Co. Donegal. 

Cap. 8 

In 695, according to A.V., the Saxons laid waste Magh Breg. In 687, according to 
the same authority, ' Adamnan brought back sixty captives to Ireland.' The descrip- 
tion in the text points to the Solway Firth as the scene of Adamnan's encounter with 
the Saxons. 

Belach Duin. — Castlekieran, barony of Upper Kells, Co. Meath. 

Cap. 9 

Uaib mic TJais. — A sept of Meath, whose name survives in the barony of Moy- 
goish, Co. Westmeath. 


Cap. 10 

Bruide m. Bili. — Bruide mac Bile was King of Fortrenn or Pictland in Scot- 
land ; his death is given by A.V. under 693. 

Ala Cluaithi.— Ail Cluaide, 'Rock of the Clyde,' old name of Dumbarton in 

Cap. 13 
For prophecies relating to the Festival of St. John the Baptist, s6e O'Curry, MS. 
Materials, pp. 384, 402, 406, 423. 

Cruachan Aigle. — Croagh Patrick, Co. Mayo. 


From the MSS of the late Father Allan Macdonald 

Thoisich Calum-cille air togal na h-I. Chruinnich e moran 
sluagh. Ach na thogadh e air an latha leagte air an oidhche 
e. Bhuail e sin air daoine a chur a dh'fhaire na h-I. H-uile 
maduinn bhitheadh iad sin marbh aig bonn na h-I. Cha do 
lean e fad air daoine a chur ann, ach bho'n a bha e fhein na 
dhuine naomh chaidh e agus dhThan e 'g fhaire na h-I fiach 
am faiceadh e no am faigheadh e ciod e a bha tighinn cearr 
oirre. Bha e a coimhead h-uige agus bhuaithe — agus bha iad 
ag radh gur ann air sgurr na creige faisge air a mhuir a bha 
i — cha'n fhaca mise i. Chunnaic e biast a tighinn bharr a 
chladaich 's an dala leth dhi na h-iasg agus an leth eile an 
coltas boireannaich. Bha i sean le slignich. 'Nuair a chrath i 
i-fein chuir i crith air an I 's air an talamh. Leig i glig dhith 
fhein mar gu'm biodh pigeachan ^ 'g an crathadh. Chaidh Cal- 
um-cille sios na coinneamh agus bhruidhinn e rithe agus dh' 
f haighneachd e dhith am b'f hiosrach i gu de bha marbhadh na 
daoine bha esan a cur a dh'fhaire na h-I as an oidhche. 
Thuirt i ris gu'm b'fhiosrach. * Ciod a bha'g eiridh dhaibh ? ' 
ars' e. Thuirt ise nach robh sian ach an t-eagal a bha iad 
a gabhail roimpe, nuair a bha i tighinn gu tir gu robh an 
cridhe leum as a chochull aca. *An f hiosrach dhuit/ ars' e, 'ciod 
e a tha leagail na h-I a tha mise togail ? ' 'Is fhiosrach,' ars 
ise. ' Bithidh an I a tuitim mar sin gu brath, a Chaluim-chille 
naoimh. Cha mhise a tha ga leigeil ach na dheighidh sin 
thathar ga leagadh.' ' An aithne dhuit a nise an aon doigh 

1 Earthenware jars. 


air an cuir mi air aghaidh an I ? ' ' 'S aithne/ ars' ise. ' A 
Chaluim-chille naoimhe, am maireach cuiridh tusa ceisd air na 
bheil a dhaoine 's an obair agad fiach co fear a dheonaicheas e 
fhein a thiodhlacadh beo fo'n talamh, agus bithidh anam 
sabhailte ma dheonaicheas e sin a dheanamh, agus cha'n 
fhaic iad mise so gu brath na dheigh. Theid an I air aghart 
gun umhail sam bith'. An la-r-na mhaireach chuir e ceisd air 
an t-sluagh mhor an robh a h-aon sam bith dhiubh a dheo- 
naicheadh a thiodhlacadh beo air chumhnanta gu'm biodh anam 
sabhailte ann am flathanas. Cha robh gin sam bith deonach 
gabhail dha 'n t-sloc ged a bha e air innis gu'm bitheadh anam 
sabhailte le ordadh Dhia. (Dh'innis ise dha cuideachd gu m 
feumadh sheachd fhaid dhoimhneachd a bhi 's an t-sloc). 
Bha Dobhran bochd a bhrathair ann an iomall an t-sluaigh. 
Thain' e nail agus sheas e air culaibh Chaluim-chille a bhrathair 
agus thuirt e gun robh esan uile dheonach a bhi air a 
thiodhlacadh uile bheo fo'n talamh air chumhnanta gu'n 
gabhadh an I togail do Chaluim-chille a bhrathair naomh, 
agus e toirt creideas do Chaluim-chille gu'm biodh anam 
sabhailte le ordadh Dhia. 

Arsa Calum-cille, * ged nach'eil brathair agam ach Dobhran 
bochd tha mi toilichte gur e a dheonaich a dhol dha'n t-sloc' 
Agus nach motha na sin a chite a bhiast a tighinn thun a 
chladaich gu brath. 

Rinneadh an sloe seachd airdead duine. Nuair a 
chunnaic Dobhran an t-sloc thionndaidh e ri Calum-cille/s 
dh'iarr e mar fhabhar ceann a chuir air an t-sloc agus esan 
fhagail na sheasamh cho fada 's a thogradh Dia fhagail beo. 

Fhuair e iarrtas, a chuir sios beo dha'n t-sloc. 
Dh'fhagadh an so e. 

Thainig Calum-cille is thoisich e air an I 's bha e fichead 
la ag obair 's bha an I a dol air aghaidh uamhasach. Bha e 
toilichte an ghnothach a bhi dol leis. 

Ann an ceann an f hichead latha 'nuair a bha h-uile ni air 
thuairim a bhi dol air aghart gu math, thuirt e gu'm bu choir 
sealltain de chrioch a chaidh air Dobhran bochd, agus an 
sloe fhosgladh. 


Bha Dobhran a coiseachd air urlar an t-sluic. 'Nuair a 
chunnaic Dobhran gu'n do dh'fhosgladh an t-sloc 's a 
mhuthaich e 'n saoghal gu leir mu choinneamh thug e cruinn 
leum as gu bial an t-sluic s' chuir e dha bhois air bial an t-sluic 
gu h-ard. Chroch e e-fhein ris an t-sloc. Bha lianadh mhor 
reidh suas 'o 'n I agus moran luachrach oirre. Na chunnaic 
Dobhran dhe'n luachar dh'fhas e ruadh agus tha am barr 
beag ruadh sin air an luachar riamh. 

Dh'eubh Calum-cille 's e thall — * Uir, uir, air suil Dhobhran 
mu'n faic e'n corr dhe'n t- saoghal 's dhe 'n pheacadh.' Chuir 
iad an uir air agus thill iad a dh'ionnsaidh an cuid obrach. 
'S cha deachaidh car an aghaidh Calum-cille tuilleadh gus an 
d'fhuair e crioch air an I. 


Circa A.D. 470. 

Translated from the Original Latin by Rev. Father Atkinson, S.J., 
Wimbledon College. 

With Introductory Note by Rev. Father Power, S. J., Edinburgh. 

In The Celtic Review, January 1906, Father Atkinson gave a 
full translation of St. Sechnall's hymn in praise of St. Patrick, 
' Master of the Scoti,' and kinsman and contemporary of the 
poet. Far more popular than this long-winded, alphabetic 
poem, the chief interest of which lies in the explicit statement 
of the teaching and practice of the Apostle of Ireland, is 
the Eucharistic hymn by the same author, first printed in 
the original Gallo-Scotish (not Scottish) Latin by Muratori 
from the Antiphonary of Bangor, fol. 102, and reprinted by 
Canon Warren in the second volume of his splendid edition 
of that document. The highly-coloured story of the genesis 
of this hymn is given in the Lebar Breac or Speckled Book ; 
but as to its antiquity and authorship I think no reasonable 
doubt can be entertained. The internal evidence points 
to the conclusion that the author of the * Praise of St. Patrick ' 


and the 'Hymn of the Communicating Priests' is one and 
the same. 

With reference to this latter title, ' Quando communicant 
Sacerdotes/ it may be noted that nowhere in early Christian 
Scotia (Ireland-Scotland) did the priests celebrate daily. 
They partook of the Corp Crist (the rendering of Corpus 
Christi in the Booh of Armagh and the Tripartite Life) 
much more frequently than they stood at the altar for the 
Sacrabaic (sacrificium) proper. 

The doctrinal elements in the following hymn are clearly 
the same as those embodied in the long poem which I have 
referred to, and which cannot be dated later than a.d. 452. 
The doctrine taught by the early Scotish preachers is again 
identical with that of the earliest versions extant of the 
Gallic Liturgy as printed by Mabillon. This liturgy was 
undoubtedly followed by SS. Patrick and Columba. 

Several attempts have been made to turn the rude verses 
of Sechnall into modern English. Bishop Bickersteth of 
Exeter, in 1880, makes short work of the Eucharistic teaching 
of the poet by his first line — 

Come, take by faith the Body of our Lord.^ 

A much more faithful translation was written by Dr. Neale, 
and set to music by Mr. A. H. Brown. It appears in Hymns 
Ancient and Modern (London, 1904), and is numbered 269. 
It is too bad of the compilers to be satisfied with the scanty 
note that this production of the first Scoto-Latin poet is 
*from the Latin.' A somewhat difi'erent and less satis- 
factory translation by Dr. Neale was given by him to the 
sisterhood known as the community of St. Margaret, East 
Grinstead. It was privately printed at Cambridge by these 
Anglican nuns, who own the famous hymnologist as their 
founder. In all translations prior to Father Atkinson's there 
can be discerned, even in the midst of smooth-flowing lines, 
an uneasy shuffling to evade the full force of SechnalFs con- 
fession of faith in the Ileal Presence in the Sacrament of the 

^ Hymnal Companion, No. 383. 


Eucharist. The short metre here used admirably reflects the 
curt and jerky style of the original text. 

Christian, come eat, for His 

Flesh is your food, 
Think of that ransoming 

Drinking His Blood. 

Christ's Blood and Body were 

Offered for you ; 
Banqueting, let us praise 

God, as is due. 

Under this Sacrament 

Flesh and Blood hide, 
Mighty to rescue though 

Hell open wide. 

Jesus, the Son of God, 

Purpling the tree. 
Brings us deliverance, 
Sets the world free. 

Christ hath each one of us 

Saved and released, 
He is our Sacrifice, 

He is our Priest. 

Victims of olden time — 

So the law willed — 
Shadowed God's mysteries, 

Now are fulfilled. 

All have His gracious gift, 

Soul's light and health. 
He hath His holy ones 

Dowered with wealth. 

Come ye with faith in Him, 

Come with pure mind ; 
Safety and endless life 

Here shall ye find. 

He doth His holy ones 

Govern and tend. 
Granting to faithful hearts 

Life without end. 


He to man's hunger gives 
Bread from on high, 

Here are for all athirst 
Wells never dry. 

Alpha and Omega, 

Jesus, the Lord, 
Lo ! He comes who shall come 

Doom to award. 


K. N. Macdonald, M.D. 

The following unpublished letter, copied from the original of 
one written by John M'Eachin, Greenock, one of the Hough- 
beag family, to his sister Isabel in South Uist in 1825, 
illustrates the noble character of the Marshal towards his 
poorer relations, and his love of his kindred. 

The letter was preserved by the late Alexander Cameron, 
at one time Procurator-Fiscal at Lochmaddy, North Uist, and 
afterwards at Portree, Isle of Skye, better known as the 
author of The History and Traditions of the Isle of Skye.' It 
was found among his papers by his daughter. Miss C. R. 
Cameron, Portree, who lent it to Mr. Ronald MacDonald, of 
the National Bank, who in turn lent it to the writer of these 
notes. The history of these MacEachins of Howbeg, or 
Houghbeag, and Glenuig shows that they were MacDonalds, 
and descended from Ranald, son of Hector v. of Kilmaleu, and 
probably a first cousin of the Marshal's. The present writer's 
father was also of the MacEachin MacDonalds, whose pro- 
genitor was Hector, the second son of Roderick ITI. of Clan- 
ranald — on record as of Kilmaleu — a large estate bestowed 
upon him by John, Lord of the Isles. He also claimed rela- 
tionship with the Marshal, and called on him at Armadale, 


on board the revenue cruiser, which was placed at his disposal 
by the British Government in 1825, and had a long conversa- 
tion with him, in which he gave him some advice about 

In the Recollections of Marshal MacDonald, Duke of 
Tarentum, edited by Camille Eousset, a member of the 
French Academy, there is a long note by our veteran folk- 
lorist Mr. Alexander Carmichael, which corroborates in a 
singular manner John MacEachin's estimate of his character. 
On his arrival in South Uist, accompanied by Mr. Eanald 
MacDonald, W.S., Edinburgh (with whom the present writer 
was intimately acquainted, having been frequently entertained 
in his house in 1854-55 — a fine, genial, clever, and witty 
gentleman), he walked from the ford at lochdar to Hough- 
beag, a distance of ten miles. ' On coming in sight of the 
river he exclaimed, *' That is the river Hough. I know 
it from my father's description ; many a salmon has he 
caught there." He sent for all his relations in the neigh- 
bourhood. When his blind old uncle was brought to him, 
he embraced him affectionately, saying, " You dear old man, 
how like you are to my own father ! " He addressed his 
relations in French and broken Gaelic, they answering him 
in Gaelic, for few of them could speak English. He dis- 
tributed sums of money varying in value among them, 
giving to some £20, and to others larger amounts, or fixed 
annuities. He took earth from the floor of the house 
where his father was born, and potatoes from the garden, 
and these he placed in a bag and carried home with him to 
France. He planted the potatoes in his garden, and gave 
orders that the earth should be placed in his coffin after 
his death.' 

The British people are changing, and the Highlanders are 
changing too. Fifty, and one hundred years ago, there were 
a great many of what one would term a good sort of honest, 
religious, and straightforward people in this country. Now 
there are, alas ! but few indeed, and none at all like Marshal 

VOL. V. H 


Copy Letter from John M'Eachin to Isabel M*Eachm, 
South Uist. 

Greenock, 20th July 1825. 

Dear Sister, — I intended to have met Marshal Mac- 
Donald in Uist when he was there. But the machinery of the 
steam-Boat in which I took my passage geting deranged and 
after losing two days could proceed no farther than Tober- 
mory. On Monday the 4th I returned to Lismore knowing 
that he was to visit the Bishop. I arived there about nine 
o'clock at night. But to my great astonishment and dis- 
apointment he left that place about three hours before my 
arival for the north of Ireland not having stoped above two 
or three hours. 

The next morning early I returned to Oban accompanied 
by the Bishop and his niece when I was fortunate enough to 
find a steam-boat ready for Greenock in which I returned 

On Monday the 11th I received a letter from Count 
Coursen in the Marshal's name desiring me to meet him in 
the Star Inn of Glasgow, on that day, where I proceeded 
immediately accompanied by my five daughters, my three 
sons in law and one granddaughter, a child of five years of 
age (those of them who lived in Glasgow happening to be in 
Greenock at the time), and after making a little necessary 
arangements in dresses, etc., in my daughter Margaret's 
house, we all walked to the Inn, taking my wife who 
happened to be then in Margaret's house along with us. 
After sending a card to the Marshal announcing our arival, 
the Count immediately made his appearance in the room 
where we were and cordially saluted us all by a hearty shake 
of the hand, etc., then ushered us into where the Duke was 
sitting along with Hector MacDonald Buchanan and his 
brother Staffa. The Duke received us in the most friendly 
polite and handsomest manner possible. 

Being the Marshal's dinner hour we were placed round 
him the same as a family round their father. He placed my 


wife on his right hand, myself on his left, and my daughters 
down from their mother according to their ages ; the men 
were on the opposite side of table, along with MacDonald 
Buchanan StafFa, etc. After taking a hearty dinner and 
some wine after it, the Marshal took the Count and me into 
an ajacent room, where we remained for half an hour, asking 
me many questions and aranging some maters which is to take 
place at a future period. After we returned to the dining 
room tea was upon the table, and my daughter Marion doing 
the duty at the head and Margaret the foot. After tea we 
stopped till half past 10 o'clock (the Marshal's usual time to 
go to bed), after promising to return to Breakfast next 
morning at ten. At Breakfast we were placed the same as 
the preceding evening, and after taking a Breakfast which 
might well be termed a Highland one, he remained with us 
alone (the Count and Staffa having gone out upon some 
business), conversing in the best way we could with his bad 
English, and taking a snuff round occationally out of his 
fine massy gold box, till about 1 o'clock when the Count 
and Staffa returned, and the cariage drawn up to the door. 
At parting he took leave of us all in the kindest and tenderest 
manner immaginable, with a promise of returning our visit to 
us in Greenock in the course of two or three years. 

The Count is a compleat Gentleman. At parting he 
kissed the cheeks of my wife and each of the daughters, as 
for the little Gumming the Duke kissed her frequently, and 
at departing gave her a £5 stg. to purchas toys, and one of 
the silver medals which were distributed at the Coronation 
of the King of France. He drove off from the Hotel where 
there was a great multitude waiting to have a sight of 

The Duke is to place a sum of money in the hands of 
Bishop MacDonald for John, he proposed that he should go 
to America, but I advised that it would be better that he 
should rather begin something in the country for himself, and 
to draw the money from the Bishop as he required, to which 
he agreed. However he may chuse for himself with the advice 


of his friends. Offer my compliments to my brother and his 
family, and I am, Dear Sister, yours etc., 

(Signed) John MacEachin. 

P.S. — I have a letter from son from Quebec, dated 15th 
of June last, when he was in good health as also his wife and 
child. The Duke is to provide a better situation for him, 
although his present one is not bad, £110 stg. p. annum. 

J. Mc E. 

Fav'd. by Mr. MacLelan. 


Professor Mackinnon 

III. Poems hitherto unpublished. 

{Continued from vol. v., p. 30) 

In the following long composition (pp. 151-55), the Camp- 
bells, and especially Captain Duncan and the poetess, are 
severely handled : — 

Na h-abair, na h-abair, 

Na h-abair na's in6 ; 

Gabh mo chomhairle, stad ort, 

'S tuilleadh spagluinn na r6p ; 

Chaidh tu moran is fada 

Ann an saltrachdainn oirnn, 

Gun respect thoirt do phearsainnean 

Beaga no m6r : 

Tha thu nis air do phabadh, 

An eangaich glacta o d' dhe6in ; 

Cha toir eanglann no casbhardacbd ^ 

Aist' thu ri d' bhe6 : 

Gu meal thu chrabhata 

Thoill ascaoin do bhedil, 

'S e aoir a' Phrionnsa 's a ghaisgeach, 

Ni do thachdadh le c6rd. 

^ Is this the Englyn of Welsh, with which Sir John Rhys would identify the 
Retorics of old Gaelic editors, and the runs of modern reciters ? In old Gaelic cass- 
bairdne was a certain class of metre. In modern Scottish Gaelic casbhardachd is 
usually restricted to ' satire,' ' invective.' 


Och ! mo naire mar thachair 

Do'n mhnaoi leacanda ch6ir, 

Bean is inighin a' phersoin ^ 

Bhi do'n pheacadh 'na rod ; 

Dh' earbadh duin' a mnaoi chneasda 

'S foghlum aice na's le6ir, 

Nach biodh mi-mhodh le' blasda, 

Ach ciiiin staideil 'na sedil : 

Ach cha'n amhuil mar thachair, 

Caoin air ascaoin tha 'c6t ; 

Gur h-i 'n canibal ceart i 

Gu beul-chagnadh nam be6 ; 

Dh' ith i 'm Prionns' agus action 

Eadar chraiceann is fheoil ; 

Ach ma dhil'eas i 'brecfasty 

Thuit is lag air mo dhdigh. 

'S iomadh g^ir' agus gaimed,^ 

A bha 'n campa nam biast, 

'Nan cro 'g eisdeachd ri d' champar, 

A' cur angir air Dia ; 

Thug am poison bha gnathach 

Do'n aobhar-sa riamh, 

Gu'n do shluig iad do racadal 

Tl^th mar mhil shliabh : 

An rud as biadh do dh'aon ph^rti 

Gu'm b^saich e ciad ; 

Gur h-e leasaich an gradh air, 

'S a rinn ^raid an rian, 

Gur h-i b' ughdar do'n sgral ud 

Te dh'^l nam bial fiar, 

D' am bu nadur mar fhagail 

Bhi 'na bla(th)-shlait do'n ria'ch.^ 

Tha 'n f hirinn ri h-aireamh, 
Bho'n 's i dh' aich'eas a' bhreug, 
Cha'n 'eil fineach * 's an ncLsion 
Chaill 'ur n^ir' ach sibh fein ; 
Dhruid miar de gach parti 
Ei'r n-aobhar gun ch^ir, 
Chaidh an onoir an aird orr' 
Os cionn gr^nnein de spreidh. 

1 The reading is clear. Is inighin for nighean or aon-ghin 1 And what is the 
point or force of person ? ^ Qf g^j^jf^ ' ^ gibe,' O'Reilly. ^ MS. indistinct. 

^ The common form is^ne, pi. jineacAan. But the author frequently UBQSJineach 
as the singular form. 


Cum nach d' rinn sibh mar Ghranndaich 
A ghl^idh an c^irdeas 's an cliii 1 
Gun sibh a thumadh 'ur spainne 
An aona ch^l diubh bho thus : 
Mar sin shaoilteadh nach n^mhaid 
Sibh a dh' aobhar a' Phrionns', 
Gun chair'-iomchair aig c^ch oirbh, 
Bho nach d' ^ilich sibh riu. 

Ach bha galar an daoilchri 
Kiamh an dlighe d'ur p6r, 
'S bhiodh am bas air a dheireadh, 
Mu'm biodh deireas air 6r ; 
Dh' fhidir sibhse gu sgoinneil, 
Gu'n robh 'n ceirean-s' aig De6rs', 
'S nach robh againn' ach gainne 
De gach goireas fo'r sg6d : 
Neach as fearr ni 'ur ceannach, 
Ni sibh a leanailt mar Eigh ; 
Sibh na siuddserich ^ theanna, 
'N am ceannairc no stri ; 
Na reubalaich cheangailt' 
A fhuair Mamon 'n a lion : 
Bheir an saoghal-sa 'n air' oirbh ; 
Thall is maireann 'ur pian. 

Fiobh ! fiobh ! gur a briiideil, 
Bho dhaoine cuirteil, 's iad m6r, 
Onoir, creideamh is consiens 
Thoirt air ionmhas ^ do Dhe6rs'; 
Cha'n 'eil creideas 's an iomlaid, 
Ach fior aimhleas ^ is g6 j 
Tairbh' dhiombuan 's cha'n fhiach i, 
Bhi cur cul ris a' chdir. 
Ach nach creid sibhse bhuamsa 
Firinn chruaidh gun dad breig', 
Dh' aindeoin dilseachd 'ur gluasaid, 
Sinne sguabadh d' ar spreidh, 
An donas fineach 's an uair-sa 
A thuairgneas am feur, 
As lugh' air meas no air cruadal 
Na 'ur ruadh-chroisean breun. 

I have not met the word elsewhere. 

MS. uintos. 3 MS. uimilos. 


Mur bhith curam nam b6can, 
Lion'or mh6r bha's 'ur cionn 
Chaidh a' chabhraich gu st6l oirbh, 
'S bhiodh an drdbh bun os cionn ; 
'S e 'ur milsean geal s61ais 
Aoir gh6rach a' Phrionns', 
Bu cho beag oirbh an ce61 sin, 
'S sfigh cdrcaich a crump' ; 
Cha bhiodh 'ur campa cho 6rdail, 
No cho stdlda 'na phlum : 
Gu'm biodh goichd air 'ur sgornan 
'G amharc se61t' os 'ur cionn 
Nam bealach 's nam m^r-bheann, 
Ard is comhnard gach fuinn ; 
Smior na geilte 'g 'ur sgr6badh, 
Koimh shl6gh sin a' Phrionns'. 

'S iomadh de6raidh dall, bacach, 

Bodhar, pailseach fo 'leoin, 

S e dh' eudach air plaideig, 

'S a dheirc aige 'na c6ir ; 

Gun mhaoin shaoghaltach aige, 

Bhiadh, a bheairteas, no dh' 6r, 

Ach na chruinnich am baigear 

'Na aparsaig bhr6in, — 

A dh' fheann sibhse bho chraiceann, 

'S thug sibh aiste chuid loin ; 

E sgreadail m'ur casaibh 

'G a acain 'na ghle6 ; ^ 

Bha na truaghain 'n an airce, 

'S an cridhe plapraich fo'n c6t, 

lad ri fannaghal le laigse, 

'S gun she61 ac' air bhi be6. 

Chaoidh na cuiribh am fiachaibh 
Gu'n do striochd sinn duibh fein, 
'S ann a fhuair sinn ar ciopadh 
Le h-arm tri-fill teach treun ; 
Cothrom talmhainn is siona. 
Air sliabh iosal, cruaidh, reidh ; 
Eich is canain gu lion'or, 
Ei dian-sgrios ar trend ; 
Sluagh foghluimte, reachd'or, 
Bha riamh cleachdta ri blair, 

MS. ina ghb. 


Gu teine thoirt seachad, 

'S gu casgairt nan ^r : 

Na 'm bu sibhs', a shluaigh bhrachdaich, 

A thachradh 'n ar n-^it', 

Cha bhiodh plundruinn no marstachd 

Cur oirnn cachdain an dr^st. 

Bha brath aig gach se6rsa 

Chuir e61as oirbh riamh, 

Gu'm b' annsa leibh st6ras 

Na c6mhrag air sliabh ; 

Smior a' chnMmh a bhrist foirneart, 

Arm m6r nan ruadb-bhiast, 

Cha d' earb ruibhs' ach a thogail, 

Bho'n a thogair sibh triall. 

! nach sibh rinn an tapadh 

'S a' ghaisge bha garg, 

Dol le miltean a chreachadh 

Dhaoine shnas, 's iad gun arm ; 

Thugaibh taing do neart Shasuinn, 

Rinn 'ur lasan a shearg, 

Nach robh ruadh-chroisean claiginn, 

Sileadh asda 's iad dearg. 

'S i do theanga shliom shleamhainn 
Chuir do bhreamas ort suas, 
Rinn an drisean do sparradh, 
Le d' rabhan Ian fuachd ; 
'Nad chaise-bhuird gearrar ^ 
'S gach fearann mu'n cuairt, 
A bhana-bhard rinn an ealaidh, 
'S garbh alia 's Taobh-tuath. 
'S iomadh baintighearna bharrail 
Eadar Gallaibh is Cluaidh, 
Manainn, D6bher, is Berbhic, 
'S Eirinn thallad ri luaidh, 
A ghibhteadh 6r agus earras, 
'S taing a bharrachd mar luach, 
Chionn gu faigheadh iad sealladh 
Air an fhear ud fad' bhuath'. 

'S beag a bhuineadh nighean t'athar 
A bhi labhairt le tair, 
Air Prionns' Tearlach na flatha, 
Bha do gha'ail ro ard, 

^ The reading is fairly clear. 


Bhiodh do chairdean a' spraigheadh 
Le h-aighir, hurrhh ! 
'N uair a chluinnt' thu ri gabhail 
T' aoir bhadhail f os n-^ird. 
Cha'n 'eil fineach am chuimhne, 
Saor bho Ghuibhnichibh f^in, 
Dh' eisdeadh t'ealain Ian puinnsinn 
Bho chontrachd do bheil, 
Nach troideadh riut grunndail, 
Mu d' thunnsgail garbh, breun, 
Mar ri achmhusan sgiursach, 
Fhaotainn diibailt' bho d' chleir. 

Caiptin Dunchadh ^ an trustar, 
Am fi6r-ghlutaire m6r, 
Thug e urram na musaich' 
Air gach muic bha 's an dr6bh ; 
Cha'n 'eil aon se6rsa sgudail 
Nach luidrich le shr6in, 
Gus an ckrnadh 'na bhuideal 
Sath aon tuirc bha 's an Edrp'. 

An saoil thu fein nach do dh'aomadh 

Le daoraich do chiall, 

'Nuair a theann thu ri aoireadh 

'N fhior-laoich sin Loch-iall 1 

Curaidh gasda nach aomadh 

Ann an caonnaig, an triath ; 

'S le cruadal do laochrachd 

Gu'n sraonadh tu ciad : 

Do reisimeid ghasda 

'N ^m sracadh nam bian ; 

Mar shaighdean luath sgaiteach, 

Bhiodh do ghasraidh dol sios ; 

Cnamh-smiiise 'ga spealtadh 

Le 'r bras-bhuillibh dian ; 

Gur neo-ghiuigeach do ghaisgich, 

Gun taise 'n an gniomh. 

Contrast with this the eulogy on Captain Duncan {FoemSj pp. 137-9). 


larr do ghiuigirean mine 

Mu Loch-fiona-sa shuas, 

'S mu thaobh sin Loch-obha, 

Bog odhar ^ a' chuain ; 

Ma tha ^ iad teom air a' mhaghar, 

'S iasg a dhra'adh d cuan, 

'S gun chruaidh ann ri taghadh, 

Mur am fadhairt thu sluagh. 

Cum 'ur fearg nach do las, 

Ma (tha) srad innte chruas, 

'Nuair a phill sinn a Sasunn, 

Do Ghlascho ri'r cluais 1 

Cum nach d'thug sibh cath sgairteil, 

Do'n * phrasgan ' bhochd thruagh 1 

'S ann a mhaom sibh mar chearcan, 

A' t^rsainn as bho'n Fhear ruadh.^ 


Another long poem on the same theme follows (pp. 156- 


O ! gu'n tigeadh . . . 

Ar cabhlach garbh daoineach, 

Le Frangaichibh cuthaich, 

Le gleadhar na gaothadh ; 

Gu falbhadh ar mulad, 

'S bhiodh curaids' 'n ar n-aodann, 

'S bhiodh armailt Dhiuc Uilleam 

'N an cuileagaibh taobh-dhearg. 

A Mhuiseagan ^ binne 
Nam fil-fhaclan bdidheach, 
'S trie a rinn sibh mo thadhall, 
Chur laghaid air 6ran ; 
Bho'n a leig sibh ar run rium, 
Sin is durachd ar n-e61ais, 
Na treigibh a nis mi, 
'S mi trie ann am ehl6said. 

Ach c6 rinn an ealain-s'. 
Thug sgeith air mo chluasaibh 1 
Cha'n fhaod gu'n do shruth i 
O shruthan glan fuarain ; 
Bho'n bhreun-16n a bhrtichd i, 
Le sgurdan de thuaileas ; 

1 MS. oughar. 2 ;^g ^^^ 3 Prince Charles. * The Muses. 


Cha robh 'n a ceud ughdar 
Aon driuchd de dh' uaisle. 

Am baisteach ^ bochd miomhail, 
'S mi-shiobhalta gluasad, 
Ge fath g^ir' anns an tir ud, 
I dhiobhairt a spruillich ; 
'S iad na pileachan mi-ruin, 
So-dhil'eadh le ludas, 
Thug sgeith air an striopaich, 
A h-inntinn a rusgadh. 

'S ged a ruisg thu mar chranna-mhadadh 
Sgaiteach do dheud ruinn, 
Dheanamh dichill g'ar gearradh, 
'S nach b' urr' thu ar reubadh ; 
Cha'n 'eil ann am edlas 
Te she6rsa fo'n ghrein-sa, 
Dheanadh tiunnail an 6rain-s', 
Ach am p6r tha thu fein diubh. 

'BTenn-mhonster de dh'ealain, 
Gun mhiosar, gun 6rdan, 
Eanghlais shearbh, shalach, 
De bharrasglaich c6mhraidh ; 
'S beag a bhuineadh do chaillich, 
Nighean Chailein ri Se6naid,2 
Dol a chaineadh a' Phrionnsa, 
Cha d' ionnsaich i e61as. 

An cimGhe-sa. phasadh^ 
A ch6arrach gun eiribinn,^ 
'S ann a bheist ^ thu na cairtean, 
Le d' bhras-iomairt chealgaich ; 
Na bhuannaichd thu chliu leis, 
Cuir ad phuidse gu staillichdeil, 
'S mur 'eil ortsa seun dubailt', 
Gu'n ciiitaichear t' earra-ghloir. 

Aig a thainead 's tha 'm p6r ud, 
An drast ann ad dhuthaich, 
Gu bheil mios ort an Latharn', 
Gur tu rogha nan iighdar ; 

^ The reading is quite clear. 

2 Who is this cailleach ? The poetess's father was Duncan, a notary. 
^ Cf. O.G. airmitiu ; H. S. D. airmidinn, 'honour,' 'reverence.' 
* The phrase occurs more than once. Beist as verb is not in the dictionaries. It 
means ' make a beast of,' ' corrupt,' ' pollute.' 



Ma tha iad le soileas 
Sior-mholadh do bhurdain, 
An ddthaich eile cha b' fhiach e 
Thogail cian thar an urlair. 

A bhana-mhinistear ascaoin 

A fhuair bias air an t-searbhaig, 

'S i mhiosguin an texta 

'N do shocraich do shearmoid ; 

'S e 'n deamhan a las thu, 

Chuir gart ort fior-fheargach, 

Le t' aoir dol a cbagnadh 

Threun-gbaisgeach nan Garbh-cbrioch. 

A bhan-r6gaire Dhe6rsach, 
Le h-6rdan bbios sgiiirsta, 
'S ann a thoill thu bbi r6iste 
Air rois-bhior am f uirneis ; 
Tha togradh do sg6rnain 
Gu d' ghoigeach bhi ruchdan, 
Dol a dheanamh an drain, 
Le h-6rdainean ludais. 

'S n^r do bhean eaglaiseach 
Beadachd is tunnsgail, 
Le spiorad na beag-nair', 
Labhairt sgeigeil air prionnsa ; 
Do chreideamh cha teagaisg 
Dhuit cead thoirt do d' sgiiirsa, 
Droch cainnt chur an eagar, 
Le t' f heigil ^ a mhuchar. 

Dh' aindeoin dichill do chinnidh, 

Anns an iomairt-sa 'n dr^sta, 

Torradh suas an cuid cillean, 

Le gionaich' na sasdachd ; 

Gu'n crunar Eigh Seumas, 

Le ^irigh nan Spainneach 

'S nam Frangach dearg-chreuchdach, 

'S comhnadh gleusda nan Gaidheal. 

'S ged a bhiodh tu cho caise, 
'S clobha daite ann ad earball, 
Bidh an gnothach-sa paiste, 
Le ascall nan Earraghaidheal ; 

Not in our dictionaries. Cf, feighil, Dineen. 


Bidh moran de t'aitim, 
Air an spadadh le fearra-ghniomh, 
'S cuid eile dhiubh 'n glasaibh, 
'S cuibhreach rag air an sealbhan. 

Chaidh na mucan gu rochdail, 
'S a sochdan air rusgadh, 
Ri riirach nan soithche, 
'S nam pocanan pluicte ; 
Ach 's e Cumberland plocach, 
Le 'ochd mhile dubailte, 
Rinn an conquest cho socair, 
'S nach stopt' air am burach. 

'S mur bhith Diuc Uilleam, 
An Cille-chuimein 'na churraig,i 
A bhi cho dioghlt' air fuileachd, 
Bhiodh cullaich 'ga sgiursadh ] 
Gu rachmaid gu h-uUamh, 
Air chullainn ^ m'ur tiirlach, 
'S bhiodh dearg-chroisean fuileach, 
Le 'r buillean 'g 'ur crunadh. 

Cha tearmachadh ceart oirnn 
* Prasgan nan Garbh-chrioch,' 
Ach cruithneachd nan gaisgeach, 
Chur ceartas am f earra-ghniomh ; 
Fior eitinn nan curaidh, 
'N km. curaidse dhearbhadh ; 
Luchd bhualadh nam buillean, 
An cumasg nan dearg-chneadh. 

Tha thusa gle bh6sdail 
As do she6rsa gu cruadal, 
Daoine staideile c6ire, 
Ach fior Dheorsaich gu buannachd ; 
Ach 's cinnteach mar 's be6 sinn, 
Tha sinn de6nach 's an uair so, 
Sinn a tharruinn an 6rdugh 
Gus na str6nan as cruaidhe. 

Ged a thuirt thu le blas-bheum 
Ruinn 'Prasgan nan Garbh-chrioch,' 
Chum sinn cogadh ri Sasunn, 
Re tachdain, 's ri h-Albainn. 

1 A formation from the verb ctw, ' chastise,' ' torture ' 1 Nach mise th' air mo 
chii/radh. ^ For collainn. 


Cum ruinn nach do chas sibh, 
Aig Glascho le 'r armaibh 1 
Chuir sinn eagal 'ur cac oirbh, 
'S th^rr sibh as mar an earba. 

Ach 'nuair choinnich Diuc Uilleam. 
Le 'r tri uiread de shluagh sinn, 
Le ciad anacothrom cumaisg, 
Gu'n d'iomain e ruaig oirnn ; 
Ach 's fada mu'n cumadh 
lad buillean aon uair ruinn, 
Ach uiread is uiread 
Dhol a bhuilleachas chruaidh ruinn. 

Taisbean domhsa milisia^ 

An ceart uair 's an Edrpa, 

Nach rachmaid 'n an dosan, 

Ann an cosgar na cdrach ; 

'S ged thogadh tu fathasd, 

Fir Latharn' is Ch6mhaill, 

B' asa cat chur an triubhas, 

Na'n cur an uidheam 'n ar c6mhdhail. 

Na biodh b6sd oirbh mu'n thog sibh 
De spreidh anns an duthaich ; 
Mur bhitheadh an armailte 
Mh6r bh' air 'ur culaibh, 
Cha deanainn fad' iarraidh 
Air cuig ciad bheireadh cuis dhiobh,— 
Luchd dhioghluim nan ceirtlean, 
'S im brachain 'n am puidse. 

Luchd thogail nam binid, 
'S 'g an dinneadh 'n am p6ca, 
'Gr am bruich air na h-eibhlibh. 
Mar ghreiteachadh fe6il (orr') ; 
Na Hottentots bhreuna, 
Bu deisinneach c6mhroinn. 
An cuinneag an deircich, 
'S an creutair 'gan sgr6badh. 

Bha iomhaigh na gealtachd 
Air a cailceadh 'n 'ur gnuisibh, 
Fior-chlamhain na h-ealtainn, 
Gu cearcan a phluchadh ; 


Na'n deanta 'ur n-ath-bhaisteadh, 
B'ainm ceart duibh na giudain, 
Bu lion'or mu'r brataich 
Fior-ghealtairean fiiidseach. 

Paigheadh diibailte steach oirbh, 

Bheirear dhachaidh 'n 'ur foirgneadh, 

As na min-chriochaibh feachd-bhog sin, 

Peacach nan Earraghaidheal ; 

Le riadh thig na creachan 

Le gaisgich nan Garbh-cbrioch, 

'S bidh claidheamh is lasair 

Mu'r n-aitreabh bhios gailbheach. 

Cha leomhainn ach caoirich 
Thug a' chaoireachd-sa bhuainne, 
Na lugachan plamach, 
'S crois sgabhain mu spuacaibh 
Bu bhuige na slaman, 
Toirt lannan d truaill iad, 
Fior-f he6dar ri tharruinn 
Nach gearradh am buachar. 

Chreach na ceallairean 6traich 
Sn^th is cl6imh gacha tiirlaich, 
C^is, im, agus uibhean 
Deanamh gruithim 'n am puidse ; 
Cha d'fhag iad balg abhrais, 
No ball ann gun spuilleadh, 
Buaidh-laraich cha choltach 
Bhi fochair nam briiidean. 

'S c6mhdach mallachd bhan bochda, 
Dedir is osnaich nam bantrach, 
An deis an rusgadh 's an dochunn, 
Gu'm bu lochdach 'ur n-ainneart ; 
Thig plAigh agus gort oirbh 
'S claidheamh prosnachd o'r naimhdibh ; 
Lannar as sibh mar choirce 
Eadar stoc agus mheanglan. 

Gur geur tha 'ur coguis 
A' cogadh ri 'r reusan, 
Gur h-e Seumas gun teagamh 
Righ Bhreatuinn is Eireann ; 


Thug an saoghal a dh'aindeoin 
Corp is anam nam beistean ; 
Gu'n do ghradhaich iad Mamon, 
'S mar sin daingean 's an eucoir. 

By Don. A. Mackenzie 

Now when the last hour of his life drew nigh, 
Cuchullin woke from dreams forewarning death ; 
And cold and awesome came the night-bird's cry — 
An evil omen, the magician saith — 
A low gust panted like a man's last breath, 
As morning crept into the chamber black ; 
Then all his weapons clashed and tumbled from the rack. 

For the last time his evil foemen came ; 
The sons of Calatin by Lugaid led. 
The land lay smouldering with smoke and flame ; 
The duns were fallen and the fords ran red ; 
And widows fled, lamenting for their dead. 
To fair Emania on that fateful day. 
Where all forworn with fighting great Cuchullin lay. 

Levarchan, whom he loved, a maid most fair, 
Kose-lipp'd, with yellow hair and sea-grey eyes, 
The evil tidings to Cuchullin bare. 
And, trembling in her beauty, bade him rise ; 
Niamh, brave Conal's queen, the old, the wise. 
Urged him with clamour of the land's alarms. 
And, stirr'd with vengeful might, the hero sprang to arms. 

His purple mantle o'er his shoulders wide 
In haste he flung, and tow'ring o'er them stood 
All scarr'd and terrible in battle pride — 
His brooch, that clasp'd his mantle and his hood. 
Then fell his foot to pierce, and his red blood 
Follow'd, like fate, behind him as he stepp'd : 
Levarchan shriek'd and Niamh moaned his doom and wept. 


Thus sallying forth he called his charioteer, 
And bade him yoke the war-steeds of his choice — 
The Grey of Macha, shuddering in fear, 
Had scented death, and pranced with fearsome noise ; 
But when it heard Cuchullin's chiding voice. 
Meekly it sought the chariot to be bound, 
And wept big tears of blood before him on the ground. 

Then to his chariot leapt the lord of war, 
* leave me not ! ' Levarchan cried in woe ; 
Thrice fifty queens, who gather'd from afar, 
Moan'd with one voice, * Ah, would'st thou from us go ? 
They smote their hands, and fast their tears did flow — 
Cuchullin's chariot thunder'd o'er the plain : 
Full well he knew that he would ne'er return again. 

How vehement and how beautiful they swept — 
The Grey of Macha and the Black most bold ; 
And keen-eyed Laegh, the watchful and adept. 
Nor turn'd, nor spake, as on the chariot roll'd. 
The steeds he urged with his red goad of gold ; 
Stooping he drave, with wing'd cloak and bright spheres, 
Slender and tall and red — the King of Charioteers ! 

Cuchullin stood impatient for the fray ; 
His golden-hilted bronze sword on his thigh ; 
A sharp and venomous dart beside him lay ; 
He clasp'd his ashen spear, broad-tipp'd and high. 
As flames the sun upon the western sky. 
His round shield from afar was flashing bright, 
Figured with radiant gold and rimm'd with silver white. 

Stern-lipp'd he stood : his great broad head thrown back, 
The white pearls sprayed upon his thick, dark hair ; 
Deep-set, his eyes, beneath his eyebrows black. 
Were swift and grey, and fix'd with fearless stare ; 
Eed-edg'd his white hood flamed ; his tunic rare 
Of purple gleam'd with gold ; his cloak behind 
His shoulders shone with silver, floating in the wind. 

Betimes three crones him meet upon the way. 
Half-blind and evil-eyed, with matted hair — 
Workers of spells and witcheries are they — 
The brood of Calatin — beware ! beware ! 
They proffer of their fulsome food a share, 
And, ' Stay with us a while,' a false crone cries : 
'Unseemly is the strong who would the weak despise.' 
VOL. V. I 


He fain would pass, but leapt upon the ground, 
The proud, the fearless ! for sweet honour's sake — 
With spells and poisons had they cook'd a hound, 
Of which he was forbidden to partake. 
But his name-charm the brave CuchuUin brake. 
And their foul food he in his left hand took — 
Eftsoons his former strength that arm and side forsook. 

For, O CuchuUin ! could'st thou ere forget, 
When fast by Culann's fort on yon black night, 
Thou fought'st and slew the ban-dog dark as jet, 
Which scared the thief, and put the foe to flight ! 
A tender youth thou wert of warrior might. 
And all the land did with thy fame resound. 
As Cathbad, the magician, named thee, 'Culann's hound.' 

Loud o'er Mid Luachair road the chariot roU'd, 
Kound Sliab Fuad desolate and grand ; 
Till Ere with hate the hero did behold, 
Hast'ning to sweep the foeman from the land ; 
His sword flash'd red and radiant in his hand, 
In sunny splendour was his shield upraised ; 
And hovering o'er his head the light of heroes blazed. 

* He comes ! he comes ! ' cried Ere as he drew near. 

* Await him. Men of Erin, and be strong ! ' 

Their faces blanch'd, their bodies shook with fear — 

* Now link they shields and close together throng, 
And shout the war-cry loud and fierce and long.' 
Then Ere, with cunning of his evil heart, 

Set heroes forth in pairs to feign to fight apart : 

As furious tempests, that in deep woods roar, 
Assault the giant trees and lay them low ; 
As billows toss the seaweed on the shore ; 
As sweeping sickles do the ripe fields mow — 
CuchuUin, rolling fiercely on the foe, 
Broke through the linked ranks upon the plain. 
To drench the field with blood and round him heap the slain. 

And when he reach'd a warrior-pair that stood 
In feigned strife upon a knoll of green, 
Their weapons clashing but unstained with blood, 
A satirist him besought to intervene, 
Whereat he slew them as he drave between — 
' Thy spear to me,' the satirist cried the while ; 
The hero answering, ' Nay,' he cried, ' I '11 thee revile.' 


'Reviled for churlishness I ne'er have been,' 
CuchuUin call'd, up-rising in his pride, 
And cast his ashen spear bronze-tipp'd and keen 
And slew the satirist and nine beside ; 
Then his fresh onslaught made the host divide 
And flee beyond him clamouring with fear. 
The while the stealthy Lugaid seized Cuchullin's spear. 

' O sons of Calatin,' did Lugaid call, 

* What falleth by the weapon I hold here 1 ' 

Together they acclaim'd, ' A King will fall, 

For so foretold,' they said, 'the aged seer.' 

Then at the chariot he flung the spear. 

And Laegh was stricken unto death and fell . . . 
Cuchullin drew the spear and bade a last farewell. 

' The victor I, and eke the charioteer ! ' 
He cried, and drave the war-steeds fierce and fast. 
Another pair he slew, ' To me thy spear,' 
Again a satirist call'd. The spear was cast, 
And through the satirist and nine men pass'd : 
But Lugaid grasps it, and again doth call, — 
' What falleth by this spear ? ' They shout, ' A King will fall.' 

' Then fall,' cried Lugaid, as he flung the spear — 
The Grey of Macha sank in death's fierce throes, 
Snapping the yoke, the while the Black ran clear : 
Cuchullin groan'd, and dash'd upon his foes ; 
Another pair he slew with rapid blows, 
And eke the satirist and nine men near : 
Then once more Lugaid sprang to seize the charmed spear. 

' What falleth by this weapon ? ' he doth call. 

' A King will fall,' they answer him again . . . 

' But twice before ye said, " A King will fall " ' . . . 
They cried, ' The King of Steeds hath fled the plain, 
And, lo ! the King of Charioteers is slain ! ' . . . 
For the last time he drave the spear full well. 
And smote the great Cuchullin — and Cuchullin fell. 

The Black steed snapp'd the yoke, and left alone 

The King of Heroes dying on the plain : 
' I fain would drink,' they heard Cuchullin groan, 
' From out yon loch ' ... He thirsted in fierce pain. 
' We give thee leave, but thou must come again,' 

His foemen said ; then low made answer he, 
' If I will not return, I '11 bid you come to me.' 


His wound he bound, and to the loch did hie, 
And drank his drink, and wash'd, and made no moan. 
Then came the brave Cuchullin forth to die, 
Sublimely fearless, strengthless and alone . . . 
He wended to the standing pillar-stone. 
Clutching his sword and leaning on his spear, 
And to his foemen called, * Come ye, and meet me here.' 

A vision swept upon his fading brain — 
A passing vision glorious and sweet, 
That hour of youth return'd to him again 
When he took arms with fearless heart a-beat, 
As Cathbad, the magician, did repeat, 
* Who taketh arms upon this day of grief, 
His name shall live forever and his life be brief.' 

Fronting his foes he stood with fearless eye. 
His body to the pillar-stone he bound. 
Nor sitting nor down-lying would he die . . . 
He would die standing ... so they gather'd round 
In silent wonder on the blood-drench'd ground, 
And watch'd the hero who with Death could strive ; 
But no man durst approach . . .He seem'd to be alive . . . 


Eev. M. N. MuNRO 

In this paper I wish to offer some remarks on Gaelic music, 
in its relation to Art Music, and with regard to its past 
history and present condition. Considerable progress has 
been made in recent years in reviving interest in Gaelic Folk- 
Song, and I shall refer to workers and gleaners in the rich 
field of Gaelic music who have helped to preserve and per- 
petuate among the Highland people, in earlier and more 
modern times, their national heritage of musical treasures. 

The folk-songs of the North must have reached a pretty 
high stage of artistic development many centuries ago. In 
our oldest collection we find tunes that have remained among 
the people with little change to the present day. If variants 
or different versions do occur, they are frequently not im- 

^ Delivered in part at the Pan-Celtic Congress, Edinburgh, 1907. 


provements but changes for the worse on the early form of 
the air, caused by the defective ear or imperfect musical 
memory of the transmitter. In Gaelic music, on the whole, 
one seldom finds anything musically crude or uncouth. This 
cannot be said of the folk-song of all European countries. 
Grieg remarks on the uncouth character of many of the 
native tunes of Norway. Refinement and tender beauty 
characterise most of the songs of the Highlands. 

There are some who profess not to care much for folk-song 
of any kind. They have developed a taste for the modern 
ballad or classical song, and one finds it diflScult to interest 
them in the simple songs of the people. They ' have only 
time for the best,' they say. In argument with such people 
the question naturally arises, ' In what relation does folk- 
song stand to the best modern art-song — the undeniably fine 
compositions of composers of world-wide fame 1 ' There are 
some who say that the best and truest type of song is the 
direct and artless expression of the people, and it is claimed 
that the genuine naive character of a folk-song appeals more 
powerfully to the feelings than does any vocal composition 
fashioned by art. On the other hand, there are some who 
despise the songs of the people as trifles of little value. The 
truth lies somewhere between these two extreme positions. 

No doubt the modern song composer has great advantages. 
He has behind him all the infinite resources of modern music, 
harmony, orchestration, and modulation, as well as melody. 
The folk-song chiefly depends for its effect on melody pure 
and simple, and the direct power of noble words. In no class 
of song is distinct enunciation of the words so needful as in 
the folk-song or ballad. But in the modern song the accom- 
paniment is almost as important as the song itself. The 
harmonies and air are so closely wedded together that one is 
not complete without the other. Every note is a part of the 
whole, and harmony does undoubtedly give an immense 
reinforcement to the power of melody. The composer can 
thus express every variety of modern feeling : the yearnings 
and regrets of the mind, the sense of the infinite mystery 


of life, its pain and sadness, its joy, even to blank pessimism — 
all intellectual and emotional experiences are suggested by such 
masters of song-craft as Schumann, Wagner, and Schubert. 
They can express thoughts that defy the poet's art to body 
forth in words. Some cultivated minds find modern music as 
an interpreter of the unutterable yearnings of the human 
soul superior even to poetry. To hear noble music well 
rendered is to them a treat of the highest order. Did not 
Carlyle say of music : * It leads us to the verge of the 
Infinite, and bids us for moments gaze into it.' 

But, while we cannot have too high an opinion of the great 
composers, it does not follow that the folk-songs have not 
a very high place of their own. Look into Schubert's songs 
and you will find that much of his music was inspired by 
the folk-songs of his own people. His weird and wonderful 
songs, so full of melody, seem to have a special affinity for 
the Celtic nature. Haweis speaks of them as * sad eyes 
looking out into the sunset over some waste of measure- 
less waters.' But the point to note about Schubert is that 
his music had its roots in the past of his own race. Of 
course, he composed a great many original pieces, yet much 
of his material was Hungarian or Austrian folk-song. As a 
consummate artist he refined this material and worked it 
into better technical form, with the result of full develop- 
ment, increased charm, and subtlety of efiect, at one and the 
same time retaining the national flavour and yet making the 
music a delight to musicians of every nation in the world. 
So it may justly be said that * the artist's feeling is in no wise 
different in its nature to that of the people, only it goes 
deeper, and he is more enlightened as to its nature and its 
origin.' To sum up in the words of Beissmann : * The art 
song may be viewed as an ennobled and perfected people's 

What I have said of Schubert and the source of his 
musical inspiration is equally true of Weber and Grieg and 
Dvorak. These great musicians were too wise to think 
the songs of their own country unworthy of their notice. 



The great masters of music have the very highest opinion 
of the songs of the people, and pay them the compliment of 
imitating their sweet and simple style. They have frequently 
developed these airs as themes with variations into the highest 
and most difficult forms of orchestral music, the sonata and 
the symphony. 

In the case of Grieg, whose recent death all musicians 
deplore, and whose work in idealising the Scandinavian 
music is so notable, it is remarkable that for a time he was 
quite insensible to the charm of national folk-song. His 
earnest study of the great German masters had blinded 
him to the value of the songs of the common people. 
Fortunately he emerged from this stage through the influence 
of Nordraak. * The scales fell from my eyes,' he confesses, 
* and so I first learned to appreciate the popular melodies of 
the North, and to be conscious of my own nature.' This was 
great gain not only to music but to Grieg himself Constant 
imitation of the great composers was paralysing his own 
originality. Now, under the influence of folk-song, he came 
nearer to nature, and found the true stimulus and outlet for 
his great original talent. 

From these facts we Celts may learn a lesson of respect 
for our own folk-song. If we put together the closely 
related Irish and Highland folk-song, there is no nation 
in Europe with a richer musical heritage than the race 
of the Gael. In a real sense it is classical music. By 
virtue of intrinsic merit it has stood the test of time for 
many hundreds of years, written not on paper but on the 
very hearts of the dear old people of the glens and the 
islands. Our Highland folk-song will be remembered when 
the mushroom crop of modern fourth-rate music that suits 
the west-end drawing-room taste for sickly sentimentality, 
or the fifth-rate songs that suit the rank imbecility of music 
hall and pantomime, will be utterly forgotten. It is the 
folk-songs of the cities I am referring to, not the noble 
works of the great masters, but the songs that arise among 
a race of bounders and degenerates, who are tired of the 


simple virtues of homely rural life, and who find a strange 
pleasure in coarse comic ditties crammed full of vulgarity, 
and often spiced with indecency. 

Let Highlanders cherish their own music ; it is well worthy 
of their intelligent enthusiasm. If any Highlander claims to 
be musical, and yet neglects the songs of the North, then I 
should say that his musical education has been neglected, or 
is in a state of arrested development. 

The folk-songs of the Highlands should make a strong 
appeal to the native Gael from their richness in association 
with the memories of youth, alike in words and music. It 
has been said that the whole voice of a people's past speaks 
through their songs, and that is a great element in their 
power. Besides, and most important of all, there is their 
intrinsic musical and poetic merit. One of our accomplished 
Highland singers, who has sung Gaelic round the world, 
informs me that the simple Gaelic song has never failed to 
make its appeal to the most cosmopolitan of audiences. At 
the same concert the Gaelic song often followed the classical, 
and there was never the smallest sense of incongruity. It 
should be pointed out that one of the great merits of 
Highland folk-song is the generally high poetic value of the 
words. Many modern English songs have words of the most 
trivial character, while the music may be quite good. At 
the risk of digression, let me say that Gaelic poetry is full of 
music in itself, is remarkably rich in assonance, and possesses 
an astonishing variety of original and beautiful metrical forms. 
Professor Geddes remarked, in his brilliant address at the 
Pan-Celtic Congress, on the marvellous qualities of Welsh 
poetry in this respect, and said there was nothing in English 
like it except some indications in Swinburne's poetry. With- 
out much exaggeration the same might be said of Gaelic 

It is an impressive fact that this high creative talent 
existed in the past in the Highlands, and is indeed by no 
means yet extinct. 

Professor Geddes refers in an article to the * paralysis of 


modern culture ' in its tendency to acquire and memorise, and 
its comparative failure in original and creative work. He 
contrasts this with the distinct creative impulse existing in 
the Celtic countries among many humble and poor people 
who owe little to modern education, and he pours scorn on 
the mere * accomplishments ' of our conventionalised middle - 
class or upper-class life. 

The wealth of Gaelic poetry and music affords ample 
evidence of the creative power inherent in the Celt. Is it 
not after all a higher thing to originate even one first-rate 
poem than to spend years in mere * acquisition and memoris- 
ing ' until one becomes a mere dungeon of learning, without 
ever having developed creative faculty 1 True education 
should stimulate originality, not crush it. The late Mr. 
William Sharp, who was keenly interested in Gaelic literature, 
was once asked how many poets did he think there were in 
the English-speaking world. He said, ' There may be as many 
as a hundred.' Then he added, ' That is just about as many 
for English as I should say there are for Gaelic now between 
Cape Wrath and Cantire.' When that was the opinion of 
one of the foremost literary critics of our time, it is surpris- 
ing that Highlanders generally do not show a little more 
enthusiasm for the Gaelic language and literature. 

While in the Highlands and in Ireland the folk-music has 
not yet developed into art music, the day may not be very 
far distant when this may take place. 

The old Celtic creative talent must be lying latent some- 
where. Already in Wales there are signs of the advent of 
native composers whose work is said to be full of promise. 
We note with much pleasure the effort being made by Mr. 
Roddie of the Northern College of Music, Inverness, to raise 
a fund to enable Highland music students to study abroad, 
and we trust his scheme may receive hearty support. 

While we long for the advent of some composer of 
genius who can do for Celtic music what Grieg did for 
Norwegian, meantime very much has to be done by our- 
selves in collecting every scrap of the old music, and 


properly editing and publishing the large amount already- 

The old people are fast going to their graves, and unless 
collectors are active much material of value may be lost for 
ever. There is an urgent need for trained workers. 

Ireland I think has been more fortunate than the Scottish 
Highlands in having competent men like Bunting and Petrie 
at work long ago among the people. The noble Petrie Collec- 
tion is a monument to that gentleman's untiring industry and 
skill, and also to the wonderful musical talent of the Irish 

Lowland Scottish song has a large literature all to itself, 
but while the characteristics of Lowland and Highland songs 
are very similar, yet the Highland field has not been so 
thoroughly explored. Burns's brilliant outburst of song 
helped to make Lowland Scottish music fashionable and 
widely known. He also helped to preserve many tunes o£ 
Gaelic origin by w^edding them to immortal verse. Yet in 
the North people of education and position seemed for long to 
take little or no interest in the songs of the people. The 
barrier of language would no doubt partly account for this 
neglect. In the house of the laird the spinet would jingle to 
Italian music learnt in London by the ladies. Some attention 
was paid to pipe music undoubtedly, in a martial age ; but 
the music of the harp, and vocal music generally, seem to 
have been neglected. Probably the gipsies and the packmen 
knew more Gaelic songs than those who by their position 
ought to have valued and preserved them. 

Patrick MacDonald says that Highland tales and music 
were a subject of mockery among the Lowland wits of the 
sixteenth century. We know that repressive laws were 
passed against the wandering bards or 'Cliar Sheanchain.' 

There were scholars who hunted the Highlands for old 
poetry, Ossianic or otherwise, but probably they were not 
able, even if they wished, to take down the music ; and what 
was a commonplace, an everyday thing, like the music of the 
people, was little prized by those who might have recorded 



them if thej chose. Then at last, within comparatively 
recent years, when the day of the people's song seemed to be 
nearly over, the antiquary and the musician began to bestir 
themselves. When the artist dies people struggle to get 
possession of copies of his paintings ; when the cruisie went 
out of use everybody wanted to have one ; just so the folk- 
songs suddenly began to be valued when the folk had almost 
forgotten them and were fast becoming Anglicised. So now 
at long last we find that the old songs are studied with 
respectful and tender care. Better late than never ! 

It was so also with regard to the ballads of England and 
Scotland. Dibdin says that ' it was not until the ballad died 
that Percy and Scott undertook the office of embalmers. The 
too long delayed activities of collectors have become almost 
an evidence of the passing of the popular song.' Let us hope 
that the passing of Gaelic song may never become an actuality. 
The growing success of the Mod in Scotland, and of the 
Oirereachtas and Feis Ceol in Ireland, makes such a con- 
tingency appear exceedingly remote. 

The earliest collection of Scottish Gaelic music was made 
by a clergyman, Mr. Patrick MacDonald of Kilmore, near 
Oban, about one hundred and thirty years ago. He was born 
in 1729 and died in 1824, ninety-five years old. This after 
all is not so very long ago. Had there been a large collection 
made in 1500 or 1600, how very valuable it would have been. 
His book only contains one hundred and eighty-six tunes, 
without any words at all. Compare this with Petrie's Col- 
lection, which contains seventeen hundred tunes. Still 
MacDonald deserves great credit for his work, which was 
carried out under much difficulty, as means of locomotion 
were very primitive in his day. It is now a rare and valuable 
work. I do not think any of the Glasgow public libraries 
has a copy, which is rather a slur on Celtic Glasgow. Any 
one curious to see this book may have a look at it in 
the Edinburgh Public Library (Ref Dept.). It contains 
specially interesting tunes which used to be sung to the old 
Ossianic ballads. 


Captain Eraser of Knockie in 1815 published a collection, 
also tunes without words, two hundred and thirty-two in 
number, with interesting notes on each. It is also valuable, 
but is somewhat disfigured by the false musical taste of his 
period, in that he indulges to excess in ornamentation and 
embellishment. The old folk-tunes when unadorned are then 
adorned the most. 

Alhyn's Anthology followed. Sir Walter Scott wrote 
words for Gaelic airs in this book when he was plain Mr. W. 
Scott. Comments on the later books, of which there are a 
good many of varying merit, are unnecessary here. 

One of the most instructive books we have on Lowland 
Scottish and Gaelic music is Colin Brown's Thistle. It is out 
of print, and a new edition is much to be desired. 

Brown was a musical expert in all the technique and 
science of acoustics, and made original research in several 
lines. He was a well-known figure in the Glasgow musical 
world, and was of Highland descent. He had a passion for 
the songs of the Highland people. A lady who knew him 
well as an elder in Dr. Bonar's church remarked to me at the 
Glasgow Mod : * How Colin Brown would have rejoiced had 
he lived to see this day ! ' He was the first to make fairly 
intelligible the relationships of the folk-tunes of the various 
parts of Britain to one another, and to show clearly their 
great musical merits by scientific analysis of the melodies. 
He strikingly remarks that ' not a flaw in form or tune can 
be found in the construction of most of these old tunes, by 
humble, uncultivated men, thus showing that what is truly 
natural must also be scientifically true. It is remarkable how 
quickly and surely the ear of the untaught musician recognises 
the mental effect of tones, and how the scientific laws of 
melody gradually develop.' 

Is not this true of our folk-tales in a different sense. 
When we read these prose stories collected from uneducated 
men, we find to our surprise all the laws of the best prose 
composition faultlessly kept by men who knew nothing of 
these laws. The same is true of our poetry. What did 


Duncan Ban know of the laws of Gaelic grammar ? — a man 
who could not write ; and yet his grammar is faultless. 

So also with regard to music. Our tunes were not com- 
posed with rule and pencil according to the technical laws of 
musical grammar. They were the products of natural genius, 
and they often excel the laborious products of analytic and 
imitative art. They knew nothing of the laws of composition, 
and yet they observe them all instinctively. If we could 
ask them how they got their tunes they would probably say 
that they just * came to them.' 

Colin Brown says : * The laws and principles of musical 
construction are exemplified in the very earliest forms of 
these melodies with mathematical precision. The devices of 
contrast, imitation, and reply are beautifully exemplified in 
every one of our folk-songs.' The authors of our old 
songs, whoever they were, deserve a tribute of praise and 

Since the time of Colin Brown, a great deal of progress 
has been made in various departments. Mr. Henry Whyte 
of Glasgow has been indefatigable. He has a special know- 
ledge of the historical and romantic lore associated with 
Gaelic songs. Mr. M. MacFarlane of Paisley is another lead- 
ing worker in this department. Like Mr. Whyte he has the 
bardic gift, and has written many good songs for the old airs. 
He is now preparing a large collection of songs and music 
entitled Bardic Melody, which will be awaited with much 
interest. We are all familiar with Dr. K. N. MacDonald's 
excellent Gesto Collection. 

Until the early 'seventies choral song was almost unknown 
in Gaelic music. All the singing was in unison in the old 
days. Joyce, however, states that the old Irish Harpers had 
a system of harmony when they played on the harp, some- 
thing like our alto part. Whether this was applied to the 
voice I cannot say. However, there was very little four-part 
singing in Gaelic until the St. Columba Gaelic Choir led the 
way about 1875. Their annual Gaelic concerts gave a con- 
siderable impetus to Gaelic choral singing. This has been 


greatly developed in recent years by the M6d, and by the 
choirs which the annual competitions have called into exist- 
ence in most of the Highland centres. 

Harmonising folk-tunes for choral purposes is rather 
difficult, though the melodies seem so simple. It is necessary 
to give them such natural harmonies as will be in accordance 
with their tonality and character, and to avoid modern har- 
monic colouring, or whatever would injure the character of 
the tune. Some think that the old tunes are better without 
any harmony. Leading authorities in England recommend 
the use of folk-songs in school sung in unison. The flavour 
of the old song is more perfectly retained when sung in the 
old style ; and, though the element of harmony is very 
charming, it sometimes obscures the simple, unadorned 
beauty of the folk-song. 

Mr. Fuller Maitland, musical critic of the Times, said 
lately to the Folk- Song Society : * Why put in harmonies at 
all? It would be better to leave the tune in a state of 
pristine innocence, but our ears were accustomed to the 
harmony as our eyes were used to seeing people with their 
clothes on. The unspoiled rustic could enjoy much that was 
outside the enjoyment of the class that must have rich har- 

Another authority compares melody without harmony to 
a line engraving, and melody with harmony to a picture in 
oil or water-colour. The moderns, any way, lay stress on 
colour, or chromatic effects in harmony, and are not so strong 
in melody as the ancients. However doctors may disagree on 
the abstract question, there can be no doubt that choral 
singing has greatly helped to popularise Gaelic music, and 
was a move in the right direction. Gaelic is a fine vocalic 
language, well adapted to give the massive effects of choral 
singing, and equally good for the soloist. 

A musical gentleman remarked on this, saying that on 
paper the language seemed all consonants, but in singing 
there seemed to be no consonants at all ! It is a language 
eminently adapted for musical purposes, and in the opinion 


of an English-speaking musician comes next to the Italian, 
for vocalic qualities, among the languages of Europe. 

The system of accents in any language has a great in- 
fluence on its poetry and music, for it determines the rhythm. 
It is a curious fact that in Gaelic the accent or beat is always 
on the first syllable of a word. For this reason there are 
few poems or songs in Gaelic ending on the strong accent, 
while the reverse is true of English. If you are writing 
Gaelic verses, and wish to end on a strong accent (or long 
syllable) you must take a monosyllable, which is not always 
easy. The usual rule in Gaelic is that the line should end in 
a strong accent followed by a secondary or weak accent. 
This is the reason why the rather silly ' O ' and ' Sir ' is intro- 
duced into English translations — -just to add an extra short 
syllable to the line to fit the Gaelic tune. In Irish music and 
poetry this ending is not nearly so common as in Scottish 
Gaelic, because the law of Irish accents is different. In one 
Irish song-book (Mr. Graves'), out of 118 songs only 18 have 
the soft ending. Now, in Coiser Chiuil, out of 100 songs 
63 have the soft ending and 37 the strong ending. Out of 
the same collection of popular songs 58 are in the mode of the 
first of the scale (Doh mode), 18 in the Lah mode, 14 in the 
Ray mode, and 10 in the mode of Soh. There are Gaelic and 
Scottish songs in all the possible modes, even in the Te and 
Fah mode. I am rather surprised to find so many on the 
Doh mode, and so few on the Lah mode. Yet it is worth 
noting that in the Doh mode airs the note Lah often gets 
prominence and accent. 

None of the seventh mode, or Lah tunes, contains the ' se ' 
or the ' bah ' of the modern minor scale, though these are 
sometimes introduced in the harmonies, as also the ' ta ' and 
' fe ' that mark passing modulation to the first flat or sharp 
related key. 

Mrs. Kennedy-Fraser has got a large number of songs in 
Eriskay lately taken down by means of the phonograph, and 
she says none of them are in either the major or minor modern 
modes. She has also hit upon a most interesting discovery 


with regard to the scale used by the Eriskay singers. Its 
intervals do not exactly correspond to the modern diatonic 
scale. I have long suspected this to be the case, especially 
when taking down airs from traditional singers who had no 
theoretical knowledge of music. Certain intervals did not 
fit in exactly to the piano scale. One might say that this 
was owing to the defective ear of the singers, or perhaps to 
the modern tempered scale, but I rather think we must go 
deeper into the past history of music for the reason. At 
any rate, the phonograph records should throw some light 
on the subject.^ 

Irish fiddlers, I am told by Dr. Henebry, play their tunes 
with two notes diff'ering by a quarter tone or so from the 
modern diatonic scale. ^ This gives a curious pastoral effect 
to their music that cannot be imitated except by playing in 
their scale. Instruments like the harp or zither could be 
tuned to this old scale, but I am afraid ears trained to the 
modern intervals could never learn the old style accurately. 

The question of the old modes is being frequently discussed 
at present at meetings of musicians. Mr. Fuller Maitland 
said lately, at the London Folk-Song Society, that the so- 
called ecclesiastical or Gregorian modes (ending on any of the 
notes of the scale) were undoubtedly in active operation up 
to 1650 in all music. He held that when a song conforming 
to the cadence rules of the old modes was found amongst 
village singers, it was clear to him that it had descended 
from a time before 1650. This, however, was not agreed to 
by all. Folk-songs were not all of ancient date, and some 
new ones were even now being composed in the old modes. 
Mr. Sharp said that they were always being composed, and 
perpetually changing. ' They were always in a fluid state, 
always dynamic, never static' This is certainly true of 
Highland Folk- Song. 

^ Mrs. Kennedy-Fraser will shortly publish these songs in book form. They 
should prove to be not the least valuable of our collections. 

2 Thus in Key G, the Irish FJf, is only a quarter tone sharp on F. The Irish C is 
quarter tone flat on the ordinary C. D E G and A are constant. The Irish F 
is a perfect fifth below the Irish C. 


It appears, then, that the origin and development of our 
music is full of fascinating and unsolved problems. Had the 
old pre- Reformation music of the Celtic Church any influ- 
ence on our folk-song ? Did the monks of lona sing in the 
old ecclesiastical modes of Italy ? Or had we an earlier 
music of our own ? Mr. Carmichael has collected old hymns 
that may have come down from the Celtic Church. If the 
words survive for centuries, is it not all the more likely that 
the music would survive. 

There was undoubtedly much intercourse between Ireland 
and Western Scotland two or three hundred years ago. Irish 
harpers often travelled through Scotland. Mulrony was 
called the chief harper of Ireland and Scotland. This was 
carried on till the close of the eighteenth century. Ireland 
was for long a school for Scottish harpers, and also for the 
Welsh. Murdo McDonald, harper to McLean of Coll, studied 
in Ireland, and was with McLean of Coll in 1734. He was 
called ' Murchadh Clarsair.' Irish and Scottish music are 
closely akin, and are, in Joyce's words, ' really an emanation 
from the heart of one Celtic people, and form together a body 
of national melody superior to that of any other nation in the 

The old harper was a bard, a musical composer, a player 
and singer all in one person. Music was their profession, 
and it is not to be wondered at that they should have com- 
posed beautiful tunes. The ancient Irish were passionately 
fond of music, and valued good musicians. The old Irish 
book, Saltair nan Rann, says Adam and Eve had a very hard 
lot after their expulsion from Eden, for they were without 
food, proper fire, house, music, or raiment ! Evidently music 
was one of the necessities of life to the old Irish scribe. 

The ancient Highlanders were quite as musically in- 
clined as the Irish. Patrick M'Donald says that the people 
in his time loved their poetry and music the more that it was 
despised by some degenerate men of rank. There were songs 
for the women (Luinneagan) for all occupations, such as 
milking, watching folds, waulking, turning the quern, hay- 


making, and cutting down corn. There were lorraim for 
the men, rowing songs, though the women sang them also. 
In harvest, he says, you could hear them on every side 
singing their woodnotes wild. They were as musical as the 
Arcadian shepherds. 

He remarks that even then, in 1784, 'through intercourse 
with the Lowlands the custom of singing these songs regu- 
larly was declining.' We cannot therefore overstate the 
value of the work done at the present day to rescue our best 
folk-songs from oblivion where that danger is impending. 
We must try and perpetuate them and render them accessible, 
and bring them again into common use and currency. We 
should try to collect every folk-tune, be it good or not so 
good, into one treasury, noting them down exactly as they 
are sung. After that will come the stage of editing and 
selection, and it may be the working up of our music into 
classical forms by the musician of commanding genius for 
whom we are waiting. Though, indeed, many of us may 
think that no treatment can enhance the charm these tunes 
already possess for us, the charm of simple and direct, but 
deep and tender, human feeling. The very spirit of the 
Celtic race speaks in its music alike in the passionate 
yearning of the love- song and in the wild, martial spirit of 
the war pibroch. 

Let us cherish our native music as a valuable possession 
not only for ourselves, but for the enrichment of the trea- 
sures of European Folk-Song. 


{Continued from vol. iv. p. 351) 
Kenneth Macleod 


[The writer learned this version of the Clan Ranald Dawn- 
Prayer from old Vincent MacEachin, Eigg, a native of 


Arisaig. Stray lines were afterwards got from other old folk. 
The prayer is said to have been chanted by the MacDonalds 
while crossing from Uist to Moidart. For translation, see 
Review, vol. iii. p. 250.] 

Oigh chubhr na mara, 
Thu Ian de na grasan 
'S an Eigh mor-gheal maille riut, 
Beannaicht thu, beannaicht thu, 
Beannaicht thu a measg nam ban — 
T'anail-sa stiuradh m'ataich, 
Buailidh e an laimrig gheal. 
Griosam, griosam, do Mhacan ciuin 
D'an tug thu gliin is cioch, 
E bhi mar ruinn, 
E bhi ri faire, 
E bhi 'gar caithris, 
E sgaoileadh tharainn a chochaill bheannaicht 

ra-soluis gu ra-soluis, 
shoills' 6r-bhuidh an anamuich 
Gu soills' 6g-ghil na camhanaich, 
'S r6 na h-oidhche dubhara d6bhaidh 
E bhi 'g ar cdmhnadh, 
E bhi 'g ar se61adh, 
E bhi 'g ar ste6rnadh, 
Le h-iul agus gl6ir nan naoi gatha gr^ine, 
Tro mhuir, tro chaol, tro chumhlait, 
Gus an ruig sinn Muideart 
'S deagh Mhac'ic Ailein, 
O gus an ruig sinn Muideart 
'S deagh Mhac 'ic Ailein. 



[This heathenish prayer was learned by the writer from 
Janet MacLeod, of the Dunvegan Clann o! Chomhairliche. 
Longer versions have been taken down, but the forceful 
terseness of the shorter one is preferable. For translation, 
see Review, vol. iii. p. 251.] 

A Thi ta cdmhnuidh 's na h-^rdaibh shuas, 

Cobhair oirnne 's an doimhne shios, 
Freasdail duinn soirbheas-latha mar thaghadh tu fein, 


Freasdail duinn soirbheas-oidhche mar thaghamaid fein, 
Falach-neoil oirnne 's gealach air each, 
Sinn fein air fuaradh 's iadsan 'nan tkmh. ; 
eum air t'iallaibh lasragan is gioragan— 
'S a' chuid eile eadar sinn fein 's na biodagan ! 
'S bheir sinn gl6ir do'n Trianaid 's do Chliaman ^ 
'S do 'n chl^ireach mh6r 2 a tha'n K6dal. 


W. J. Watson 

The following notes deal with some of the more uncommon 
and puzzling elements in our topography. The two last are 
new. Points in the others have already been incidentally 
discussed either by Dr. Alexander MacBain ^ or myself. 


The preposition fo, under, is found in its strictly local 
sense in foithir, under-land, flat land lying under a steep 
eminence. Hence Foyers (with English plural) and several 
other places of the same name in Stratherrick, e.g. am 
Foithir beag, Foithir Mhic Cloain. On the v/est coast of 
Boss-shire it seems to hecome faithir, and is applied to the 
long -continued terraces formed by the old raised beach. 
Probably there is here a transference from the flat ground 
below the terrace to the terrace itself. With regard to 
Foyers, MacBain says, * older Foyer, for old Gaelic ''fothir" 
good land, evidently '* low-lying land."' 

With a diminutive force fo appears in Phoineas or 
Foynes for fo-innis, ' little haugh,' or sometimes, possibly, 
low haugh, as in a case near Abriachan, on the west side 
of Loch Ness, where the haugh lies below the steep hillside. 
There is no doubt of its diminutive force in the common 

1 St. Clement is the patron saint of the Clan Macleod ; the old church at Rodel, 
Harris, was dedicated to him. 

2 The priest of Rodel was always called An cleireach Mor, 'the great cleric,' 
probably because of the importance of St. Clement's Church. 

^ Tramactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, vol. xxv. 


Fowlis (Ross-shire, Aberdeen, Perth, Forfar, Stirling), in 
Gaelic Folais, or better Foghlais, substream (fo + glas), a 
derivation confirmed by the old spelling Foglais in the 
Charters of Inchaffray. The old district name Fothreve 
(Fife and Fothreve) has been explained with probability by, 
I think, Dr. Kuno Meyer, as fo + treh, sub-dwelling (cf 
treahhar, houses). The puzzling name Fyrish, the name of a 
farm and adjacent hill in Ferindonald, Ross-shire, in Gaelic 
Foighris or Faoighris, may be for fo-iris, under-roost. There 
is in the face of Fyrish Hill {Cnoc Foighris) a remarkable 
projection or spur of considerable size, surrounded by a 
deep gully. So sandy is its surface that it long defied the 
attempts made to plant it, but it now grows timber. It is 
called in Gaelic Gnocan Dheilgnigh, the prickly hillock, no 
doubt from the briars and whins which grew there of old. 
This sort of projection is often called ' spardan/ roost ; but 
in Glenartney Forest the term iris is used, and it is possible 
that in the name Fyrish we have this element. 


The old adjective Idch is glossed duh, black, in Cormac's 
Glossary, and is equated by Dr. Whitley Stokes with Welsh 
Uivg, livid, scurvy. Adamnan in his Life of Columba (ii. 38) 
mentions a river in Lochaber * qui Latine dici potest Nigra 
Dea,* or the Black Goddess, and in the headings of chapters 
to Book I. occurs the name Stagnum Lochdae, lake of the 
Black Goddess, situated somewhere about the ' dorsal ridge ' 
of Alba. MacBain identifies these with the river Lochy (Inver- 
lochy) and Loch Lochy (G. Ldchaidh). The Irish Annals 
record under the year 728 a battle fought between the 
armies of Nectan and Angus, king of the Picts : bellum 
monith carno iuxta stagnum Loogdae ; but the location is 
uncertain. The phonetics of Loogdae look Welsh. 

The furthest north instance so far noticed is Inchlochel 
{Innis-ldicheil), in Ross-shire. In Inverness-shire, besides 
Inverlochy, is Lochletter (G. Lochleitir), dark hillside, and 
MacBain notes the river Lochy, ' which acts for a short 


distance as the boundary of Abernethy parish and Inverness 
county, and which joins the Avon at Inverlochy near Kirk- 
michael.' Near Dores is Camas-ldchaidh, Lochy Bay, and 
above the Streens on Findhorn is Poll-ldchaig, Pool of the 
dark spot. In Perthshire there is Glen Lochay with its 
river Lochay (G. Lochaidh) ; also the river Lochy from Loch 
Bee, joining the Orchy, while near Comrie is Drum-15chlainn, 
ridge of the dark flat. In Perthshire we have also Inver- 
lochlarig {Libhir-ldchlairig), the Inver of the black pass. 
Glenlochy at Glenshee is in Gaelic Gleann-lochsaidh, and 
therefore requires a different explanation. The Lochty 
Water in Fife may or may not be connected ; the quantity of 
the vowel cannot now be ascertained. Lastly, in Aberdeen- 
shire, may be noted the parish of Leochel, the old spellings of 
which (Loychel, c. 1200) make the pronunciation fairly certain. 


This is a common element in Gaulish names and is equated 
with Welsh ial, a clear or open space. It still survives in 
many French names of places, e.g. Verneuil, Verno-ialos, 
Alder-space, Alder-glade, where verno- is Gaelic fearna. 
Though we cannot produce a Fearnail in Scotland, we can 
exactly parallel the French Mareuil, Maroeuil, Mareil and 
other such, all from the Gaulish Maro-ialos, great-clearing, 
which with us is Morel, G. Moirl in Strathdearn, and Moral in 
Bal-moral and elsewhere. Similarly Leochel and Inch-lochel, 
noted above, mean 'dark-clearing.' Muthil, G. Maothail, 
is soft space, and near it there is Dargill, representing G. 
Deargail, red spot, a name which recurs in Ireland as Dargle. 
So far these are the only instances that I have noted as 
certain, but it may be suspected that Duthil, G. Daoghal, 
contains the same element, as also Culduthel near Inverness, 
in Gaelic Cuil-daoghail. The first part is difficult. 

coll, call, calltuinn 

The hazel, as might be expected, plays a prominent part 
in our topography, appearing, however, much oftener in the 



short form coll or call than in the longer (derived) form 
calltuinn. Perhaps the best known name involving the 
latter is Barcaldine, G. Barr-calltuinn in Argyle. Instances 
of its use in Sutherland, Ross, or Inverness would be exceed- 
ingly difficult to produce ; in all these counties call and coll 
are the forms regularly found. In common speech, on the 
other hand, calltuinn is universal ; the others have grown quite 
obsolete, and are not recognised by all dictionaries. This, 
together with their resemblance to coille, wood, has caused 
coll and call to be practically ignored by many writers. In 
names where it is possible to verify the Gaelic forms there is 
no difficulty in distinguishing the sound of coillj genitive of 
call, with its long II, from coille, where the II is short ; but 
when this is not so, and we have only the forms as taken 
over into Scots, II regularly becomes w, whence much con- 
fusion has resulted. The most instructive example is Kilcoy 
in Ross-shire, in 1294 Culcolly, 1479 Culcowy, later Kilcoy, 
G. Cuil-challaigh, a derivative of call, meaning * Nook of the 
Hazel Wood.'^ Here the process is plainly seen in operation, 
and the old record spelling can be checked by the present- 
day Gaelic form. The same element is seen in Bealach 
Collaigh, Wy vis. Cowie is rather a common name ; old 
spellings, when they are available, show Colly, Collie, or 
such, and it is to be inferred that all the Cowie's were Hazel- 
woods. Similarly our northern Tolly, Tollie, G. Tollaigh 
(from toll, hole) becomes in Scots Towie (derived wrongly 
from tulach, a hill, with reversion of meaning). 

Coll becomes in Scots cow, whence Duncow, Hazel Fort, 
in Dumfriesshire, just as poll becomes pow, applied to 
sluggish streams. Coille, wood, may also become cow on 
occasion, as in Cowcaddens, the old spellings of which, Kow- 
cawdennis, Kowcaldenis, point to a derivation from Coille- 
challtuinn. Hazel wood. 

The treatment of calltuinn is seen from a Perthshire 
example. Near Comrie is the pretty little spot of Cowden, 
in old spellings Coldon, the present-day Gaelic of which is 

1 Place-Names of Boss and Cromarty , p. 143. 


aChalltuinn, the Hazel Wood. This settles the meaning of 
the various Cowdens, including Cowdenbeath, with its differ- 
entia implying that this particular Cowden belongs to the 
parish of Beath. The same element is most probably seen in 
the famed Cowdenknowes in Berwickshire, old spellings of 
which are Couldenknowes, 1610; Coldingknowes, 1827.^ 
The hybrid form in this case presents no more difficulty 
than such a term as ' the Moor of Rannoch,' and the name is 
doubly interesting as occurring in Berwickshire. Of course, 
Coldingham, Bede's Urbs Coludi, is no relation. 

Ihert and Offerance 

Ibert occurs as a place-name once in Perthshire and twice 
in Stirlingshire. A Retour of 1640 records ' gleba vocata the 
Ibert ecclesiae de Monzie ' (the glebe called the Ibert belong- 
ing to the church of Monzie), and another of 1648 has 'the 
glebe and kirkland of the viccar of Monzievaird beside the 
water of Turret, with teynd sheaves of the said glebe called 
Ibur.' The Ibert still survives upon the map, not, however, 
beside the water of Turret, but beside the Shaggie Burn, a 
little way to the north of Monzie Parish Church. In Stir- 
lingshire, Thomas Buchannane was served heir in 1621 to his 
father John Buchannane of Ibert in Hhe church lands of 
Ibert in the parish of Drymmen,' and the name still appears 
close to the church of Drymen. The other Stirlingshire 
Ibert was apparently close to the church of Balfron, and 
appears on record in 1666 as belonging to the Earl of Glen- 
cairn. The fact of the connection of these names with 
Gaelic iohart, an offering, is more obvious than the exact 
manner of it, and there has arisen not unnaturally the usual 
'Druidical' theorising — these, it is imagined, were places 
where sacrifice was offered. The exact significance and 
point of the name will, however, be apparent from certain 
phrases in the Book of Deer. There we have, for instance, 
* dorat inedhdirt doib iiacloic intiprat gonice chloic pette 
meic garndit,' ' he gave in offering to them from the Stone of 

^ Place-Names of Scotland, J. B. Johnston. 


the Well to the Stone of the Farm of Garnat's son.' Again, 
*Domnall mac meic dubbacin robdith nahule edbarta ro- 
drostan, Domnall, son of Mac Dubbacin, dedicated (lit. 
drowned) all the offerings to Drostan.' There are two 
other instances of similar phraseology. Thus it will be seen 
that iohart was a regular old Gaelic term for an offering 
made to the Church. The place itself was the iohart, and so 
we have an interesting addition to the Scottish names of 
places derived from the Celtic Church. It will be noted that 
two of the three Ibert's above mentioned are definitely 
stated to be Church lands, while the third was near a 

lobart means ' an offering ' ; the church collection is still 
called * the offeral ' in the Highlands, and we shall now 
proceed to show that the curious place-names Offerance, 
Offeris are exact parallels of the Ibert's. The places of this 
name, like the Ibert's, are confined to Perth and Stirling. They 
are confined, in fact, to the Menteith neighbourhood, which 
was dominated by Inchmahome. Near the Lake of Menteith 
occur such names as Arnclerich, Arnvicar, Arnprior, and 
there on the fringe of Flanders Moss {A' Mhdine Fhlanrasach), 
north of the Kirk of Buchlyvie occurs the name Offerance, in 
its various divisions of Offerance of Gartur, Over Easter 
Offerance and Nether Easter Offerance, while at the west 
end of the Moss is Offerance, north of the Peel of Gartfarren. 
Offerance of Leckie formed part of Scheirgartane (Ret. 1609 
etc.), presumably meaning West Gartan. It appears on the 
map as Offers in Perthshire, in an angle of the Forth, on the 
south edge of Blair Drummond Moss, and north of the Kirk 
of Gargunnock. The Old Statistical Account of the Parish 
of Callander, by the Rev. James Robertson, contains an 
interesting note on the etymologies of the parish names, 
among which is mentioned Offerans, lying, if we may judge 
from the order followed in the list, between Duncraggan and 
Lanrick at the west end of Loch Vennachar. 'In Gaelic,' 
says Mr. Robertson, it is ' Oir-roinn, the side of the point. 
This name is generally given to places at the side of a river, 


whether it either runs into a lake or falls into another river/ 
This description applies well to the land in question, and as 
in a Retour of 1596 there appears ^lie ofFeres de Lanark' in 
the lordship of Stragartnay we may conclude that this is the 
place in question. But either the name covered more ground 
than this, or there was another place of the same name 
similarly situated at the west end of Loch Achray, for the 
name of the meadow at the bridge there on the road to Aber- 
foyle was given me last August^ as an t-Oirrinn, and the rock 
westwards of it (part of the Trossachs) as Creag an Oirrinn} 

If the minister's derivation is bad, his Gaelic is honest. 
Oirrinn is manifestly the Gaelic form of Offeran, Latin 
offerendum, whence E. Ir. oifrend, Gaelic aifrionn, the offering 
of the Mass, pronounced often aoirinn (ao short). The 
question arises whether oirinn is merely a dialectic variation 
of aifrionUy retaining the original initial vowel, or whether it 
is not an independent loan of local origin from the same 
source. The difference in gender (aifrionn, fem., oirinn, mas.) 
does not count, the word having been originally neuter. In 
any case the Gaelic form of Offerance goes to show that the 
name is to be regarded as parallel to Ibert, and not a mere 
translation of it. 

It has been already noted that the church collection is in 
the Highlands still called ' the offeral.' It may be added that 
in E. Ross (once a stronghold of the Celtic Church) the past 
generation were in the habit of applying the term iohart 
colloquially to any unkempt ' ill-guided ' creature, whether 
beast or body. Was this a sinister reminiscence of the 
usual condition of animals presented to the Church ? If so, 
then we may regard the honna-sia of the offeral as the 
legitimate successor of the starveling iobart ! * Cha do chuir 
mi-fhein ann riamh ach am bonna-sia ' said an elder of my 

1 In course of an investigation of the names of Perthshire, in which I was helped 
by the Carnegie Trustees, whose liberality I desire gratefully to acknowledge. 

2 My informant was Parian Macfarlan, who possesses a unique knowledge of 
the names and traditions of the country between Callander and Loch Lomondside. 



In a village in the Island of Bernera, Lewis, there is a 
small hillock called Sithean, in connection with which the 
following storj is told. 

A man in the village whose house was in the neighbour- 
hood of the hillock used to be much annoyed by the Fairies. 
The story says that they were in the habit of borrowing 
pots and cooking-pans from his wife — sometimes returning 
them, sometimes not. The man came home one day from 
fishing, and being hungry asked for some food. His wife 
told him she could not get any food prepared for him as the 
Fairies had taken away the pot from her in the morning. 

The goodman desired her to go to one of her mortal 
neighbours and borrow a pot until her own should be 
returned. On the way to her neighbour's house, as she 
passed the hillock she saw the door of the Fairies' habitation 
wide open, and directly opposite it her own pot. 

She entered and beheld a number of people inside, and 
prominent among them an old man wearing a green cap. 
There was also a large dog with a yellow collar leashed in 
a corner of the dwelling. No sooner did she remove the 
pot than the old man ordered the dog to be set after her in 
the following words : — 

* Bhean bhalbh ud 's a bhean bhalbh 
Thainig a tir na marbh 
Thug i 'n coire leatha na crubh — 
Fuasgail an Guth 's leig an Garg.' 

The translation is literally :- 

That dumb woman and the dumb woman 
Who came from the land of the dead 
Took the kettle with her in her talons — 
Unloose the Voice and let free the Fierce.' 

(Voice and Fierce apply to the dog.) 


The woman took to her heels, and did not part with the 
pot although the dog was in full cry after her. As she was 
entering the door of her own house, the dog overtook her 
and caught her by the heel. The woman pulled hard and 
the dog held fast. At last the woman got free and entered 
the house, but — minus a heel. 

The return of the article borrowed depended on the 
following lines being recited by the lender on handing over 
the article to the borrower : — 

* Dleasaidh gobha gual 
Gu iarunn fuar a bhleith, 
Dleasaidh coire cnaimh 
'S a cur slan gu teach ' ; 

signifying : — 

' A blacksmith is entitled to coal 
To grind the cold iron ; 
A kettle is entitled to a bone 
And to be sent home safely.' 

The wife had neglected to recite these lines when she 
lent the pot — which was the reason it was not returned. 
If the lines were recited, not only was the pot returned, but 
with it a bone of beef, mutton, or venison, with a good deal 
of meat on it. 

A man from Harris was deer - hunting in Bealach a' 
Sgail. (The Glen of the Echo, the pass between the hills Li 
fo thuath and Li fo dheas— North Lea and South Lea 
in North Uist. Here Gilleaspa Dubh was murdered by his 

In the hollow of the glen he came upon a man in the 
act of skinning a deer. The man, who was a stranger, 
appeared to be much disconcerted at being thus caught, 
and expressed a hope that he fell into good hands. The 
Harris man assured him that he need fear nothing on his 

The stranger took courage on being thus assured and 
entered upon a conversation with the man. Not seeing a 


dog with the Harris man, the stranger asked if he had any 
at home, to which the man replied in the negative. The 
stranger wondered at a huntsman being without a dog and 
offered him his own — a large grizzled hound that crouched 
beside him, adding : — 

' 'Soilleir full air cu ban, 
'Soilleir cu dubh air liana, 
'S nam bithinn ris an f hiadhach, 
B'e 'n cu riabhach mo roghann '; 
which means : — 

' Visible is blood on a white dog, 
Visible is a black dog on a meadow. 
And if I were deer-hunting 
The grizzled dog would be my choice.' 

The stranger pointed to the dog, and the Harris man stooped 
down to take hold of the dog's leash. On turning round 
to thank the donor, neither he nor the carcass could be 
seen. It was not till the sudden disappearance of the 
stranger that the man apprehended that he was a fairy. 
The Harris man kept the dog for a long time, until one day 
as he was passing the identical hollow in which he met 
the Fairy he heard a shrill whistling — the dog cocked his 
ears and made off, and his late owner never saw him again. 

The Fairies are said to be as fond of deer's milk as of 

On a hill called Beinn Bhreac there was frequently seen 
a noted Fairy milking the deer. She was one day observed 
by two hunters going round the deer, and after gathering 
them into a gorge in the side of the hill she commenced 
milking them one by one, singing a kind of lullaby the 
while, till she came to one which was so restive as not 
to suffer her to come near but ran off up the hill, she 
following with almost equal speed. Seeing that she was 
loosing ground, she suddenly stopped and exclaimed : — 

' Saighead Fhionnlaidh ort a bhradaig 
Ge b' oil le d' ladhran bheir i stad ort 
Luaidhe Mhic Iain Chaoil 'na d' chraicionn 
'S buarach na Baoibhe mu t' adharcan.' 


* Finlay's arrow in thee, thou thief, 
In spite of thy hoofs it will make thee stop ; 
Mac Iain Chaoil's lead in thy carcass 
And the Fairy's Buarach on thy horns (legs).' 

Finlay was the chief of the Fairies, as is evident from their 
being called * Sluagh Fhionnlaidh/ or Finlay's People. My 
informant could not tell who * Mac Iain Chaoil ' was. The 
English of the name is Son of Slender John. The Fairy 
herself was the Fury. Buarach is a kind of shackle made 
of hair or hemp used to tie round the hind legs of cows to 
keep them from kicking while they are being milked. It 
is universally used in the Outer Hebrides to the present 

No sooner had the Bean-shith or Fairy woman pro- 
nounced these words than the deer stopped and suffered 
herself to be milked. The Pibroch of Cronan Cailleach na 
Beinne Brie is said to have been composed upon this Fairy, 
the air being in imitation of the tones and modulations of 
her voice in her lullaby when milking the deer. 

In an island in Loch Boag there is a conical hillock 
said to have been the favourite resort of Fairies. The people 
of the island began building a turf fence for the purpose of 
keeping the cattle from coming in on the arable land. The 
line of the fence passing near the base of the hillock, they cut 
a quantity of turf off the side of the knoll. 

On the day following that on which the sods were cut a 
young lad — an amateur bagpipe -player — was employed in 
boring a piece of wood in order to make a chanter of it, when 
a strange woman came to him, and saluting him, told him 
that she would put him in the way of getting a much better 
cb'^nter than he could ever make, provided he would place the 
soc < which were cut in yonder hill yesterday in their original 

He had scarcely come back from replacing the sods when 
the strange woman made her appearance, and after expressing 
her approbation of the manner in which he had executed the 


work, she told him to get Maide nan Cuaran — a stick stuck in 
the wall on which brogues were hung — and work it down 
to the shape of a chanter, and bore it, and after he had 
finished to put in the mouthpiece a reed which she 
handed him. 

He finished the chanter to the best of his abihty and 
inserted the Fairy's reed. 

The music played on the bagpipes with that chanter 
excelled all other pipe music. The chanter was kept for 
many generations by the descendants of the lad in Uig till 
they emigrated to America, when they took the chanter with 

Fairies are said to have had a strong predilection for 

In the island of Lewis the utmost watchfulness was 
observed not many years since in guarding the babe till 
after baptism. In the event of the person watching having 
occasion to leave the room in which the child was, it was the 
custom to lay the tongs in the doorway, or, more generally, 
across the cradle. 

The tongs, placed in either of those places, was considered 
a sufficient guard until the individual's return. 

The consequences of neglect in observing these customs are 
exemplified in the following stories. 

The Fairies never abducted a child without leaving one in 
its stead — so much to their credit. But the substitute thus 
left was extremely meagre and emaciated, having a cadaverous 
appearance, and the tone of its voice more like that of an old 
person than that of a child. The belief regarding the substi- 
tute was that it was a worn-out, decrepit fairy, whom age or 
disease had rendered an unfit member of the Fairy community, 
metamorphosed into a baby. 

In Pabbay, an island in Loch Roag, a child of a few days 
old was kidnapped by the Fairies in consequence of the 
carelessness of the woman to whom it was intrusted. 

The parents did not suspect that it was not their own 


child they were rearing, as the Fairies had left one in its 
stead, till an old woman from Valtos, the village opposite 
the island, came across to visit her daughter, and happening 
to be in the house, made some remarks on the child's appear- 
ance. After examining the parents and handling the baby, 
the woman assured them that they fostered a Fairy instead 
of their own child. In order to get their own child restored 
to them, she recommended the father to put a pot of water 
on the fire, and then conceal himself till the water boiled 
in a place where he could see the child and hear it should it 

The man did so, and no sooner did the water begin to boil 
than the child of but a few months old began to speak. 

' Fhearchair, thoir dheth an coire. Tha'n coire goil.' 
(' Farquhar, take off the kettle. The kettle is boiling.') 

This was uttered in the hollow and tremulous tones of an 
old woman. 

The man was terrified at such an extraordinary occurrence 
and went directly to his adviser, who was in her daughter's 
house, and related the circumstance, and sought her further 
advice. She told him to leave the Fairy child at midnight 
on the side of a hillock in the neighbourhood, and not to 
trouble himself about it till morning at dawn, when he should 
go to the same place and bring back his own child, which, she 
said, the Fairies would bring there shortly after the other had 
been left. 

The man went to the hillock in the morning and carried 
home the child found there. The child throve and grew up 
to womanhood, and died at a good old age. 

My informant knew the woman, a nephew of whom was 
recently living in the parish of Uig. 

In the village of Erista, Uig, now depopulated, there 
was a man whose child was carried away by the Fairies, 
but as usual they left one in its place. But the substitute 
was sick and unhealthy, and continued so, notwithstanding 


the tender care taken of it. The old woman referred to in 
the story preceding came that way, and having heard of the 
sick child, came to the house. She told the goodwife that 
the child she nourished was not her own, but a worn-out 
Fairy, and that in order to recover her own child she must 
cast the false one away. To remove any doubts that might 
be in the goodwife's mind, the woman advised her to knead 
a bannock of meal and to bake it against the fire, supported 
on nine wooden pegs or pins — the lower ends of which should 
be fixed in the hearth, and the others stuck in the edge of 
the bannock, and this done, to hide herself where she could 
see and hear the child, and if the child exhibited any extra- 
ordinary symptoms she might be sure it was a Fairy. 

The mother did so, and was not long in concealment when 
she saw the child raise its head in the cradle, and after look- 
ing round, exclaim, *'S fada beo mi, ach cha 'n fhaca mi a leithid 
do chul-leac ri bonnach.' (I have lived long, but I never saw 
such a back stone (support) to a bannock.) To hear a child 
of its age speak, and that in such old -mannish accents, was 
enough to convince the mother. She consulted the old 
woman further, when she was told to throw the child into the 
river, and that her own child would soon be restored to her. 
She did so, and the * infant * commenced crying mightily for 
help — imploring mercy, but the goodwife was inexorable. 

In the morning she found her own child sleeping quietly 
in the cradle, which but the day before had been occupied by 
an old Fairy. 

In the island of Pabbay, Harris, an old woman and her 
daughter were cutting corn in the field. The daughter had 
a young son, and there being none with whom the child could 
be left at home, she brought it out with her to the field, and 
placed it on the soft grass at the side of the corn rig. It had 
not been there long till it commenced to cry and whine. The 
mother was going over to it when the grandmother stopped 
her, saying that it was not her own child — that she had seen 
the Fairies take it away, and that they had left an old man 

VOL. V. L 


Fairy in its stead. The child continued crying, the mother 
and grandmother taking no notice. 

At length the old woman (who possessed the faculty of 
second sight) saw the Fairies returning with the abducted 
child, and after removing the old man, placed it in its original 
position. The old man ceased crying as soon as his own 
people took him away, and the child sat quite still. 

The mother wondered that the child ceased crying so 
suddenly and that without any inducement, when the grand- 
mother told her it was the old man who cried all the time, 
and that the crying ceased only when the other Fairies took 
him away. 

In order that they should not attempt to steal the child 
a second time, the old woman made her daughter tie an iron 
button which she had round the child's neck. The old woman 
was a native of St. Kilda. 

At Avonsuidh, Harris, there lived, not very long ago, 
a man of the name of John Macleod. He had a goodly 
family of children at the date of the story, all stout and 
healthy, with the exception of the youngest, a boy of twelve 
months old. 

The child was thriving well for the first four months when 
he was observed to have undergone a sudden change. 

Instead of his usual liveliness he became dull and lethar- 
gic, and his plump body, and smooth, soft skin got flabby 
and shrivelled, and notwithstanding all the means used the 
child did not thrive. 

It happened that an old woman from Lewis was on a 
begging tour in Harris at the time, and among other houses 
she called at Macleod's. She was not long in the house till 
she made inquiries about the child, as to its age and so on. 
Finally she told the mother that the child was not her own, 
but a Fairy substitute, and that in order to recover her own 
child, she must place the false one below high-water mark on 
St. Bride's night (1st February, old style), and though it 
should cry, not to remove it till the crying ceased. 


St. Bride's night arrived, and the goodwife treated the 
child as she had been directed. The infant cried lustily for 
some time without the woman taking any notice. At last the 
crying ceased, and she took the child she found. 

The child grew to be a man, and emigrated to Australia 
some years ago. 

The above are a few specimens of the stories related in 
reference to the abduction of children by the Fairies. Fairies 
are not yet extinct, and they still carry away young children, 
though not to such an extent as in the days of old, partly 
owing to the circumstance that the ceremony of baptism is 
administered when children are very young. 

There lives in the village of Mangusta, Uig, an impotent 
person, believed by certain old women to be a Fairy. He is 
upwards of thirty years of age and as powerless as an infant a 
few days old. He is quite incapable of changing the position 
in which he is placed in bed — cannot extend his hand to his 
mouth — he cannot even masticate his food. He is a mere 
skeleton, his legs and arms are as thin as a walking-stick but 
as long as those of an ordinary man. The man looks much 
older than he really is. His forehead recedes very much. 
He has no beard, but a few long white hairs on his chin, and 
is deaf but not dumb. During the first few months of his 
childhood he was as plump and healthy as any child in the 
place — the change was sudden — hence the superstitious belief 
about him. 

Fairies are said to be very fond of music. 

A man in the parish of Uig told me that he heard their 
music one day he was out on the moors. 

The musical sounds seemed to come from under the ground 
on which he stood. 

A notion was prevalent among the people of Lewis, 
and of the Highlands and Islands generally, that it was 
imprudent to wish — or rather to express a wish — for anything 
at any time of the night without simultaneously invoking the 
protection of the Deity. 


If the invocation were forgotten or neglected they believed 
that their wish would be granted in some terrible manner. 
Probably this superstitious belief originated in the following 
and kindred stories. 

Three men were hunting in the hills of Kintail. Having 
had but little success, and being reluctant to return home 
empty-handed, they agreed to pass the night in one of the 
shielings or huts, of which there were many on the moors. 
(' Shielings,' says my informant, * much larger than those to be 
met with in Lewis.') Having lit a fire in the shieling they 
cooked some venison, of which they made a repast. After 
their meal they pulled some dry grass and moss and spread it 
on the floor to serve as a bed. Two of them sat on one side 
of the fire and the third at the other side began playing the 
trump (Jew's-harp). One of the two began to talk of their 
unsuccessful day's toil, but added that they would not grumble 
at their ill success were they now with their sweethearts. 
His comrade agreed with him heartily, and at the same time 
expressed a wish that their three sweethearts should be with 
them in the shieling. 

Immediately three tall, handsome young women made their 
appearance, two of whom crossed over to the two men, the 
third remained with the musician. The fire was * dimly burn- 
ing,' and the man could not see how things were going with 
his comrades and their two strange visitors, but he noticed to 
his consternation a stream of blood flowing towards the fire 
from the place where they were, and looking at the same time 
at the woman who sat by him he observed that her feet were 
not like human feet but like the hoofs of a deer. 

His fears were terribly aroused, and he wished heartily to 
make his escape. He made an excuse to the woman that he 
must go out for some water to drink, but she ofiered to go 
herself He declined and rose to go out. He no sooner 
made a movement to the door than the woman got up, and 
endeavoured to lay hold of him before he reached the door, 
but he escaped and ran with all possible speed towards the 
nearest human dwelling. 


The woman pursued him with a speed equal to his own. 
At length he reached a glen which was inhabited, and there 
the woman gave up the chase, and exclaimed several times : 
* Dhith sibhs' ur cuthaich fein ach dh'fhag mo chuthaich 
fein mise.' You ate your own victims (?), but my victim (?) 
escaped from me. 

On the day following the people of the glen went to the 
shieling, where they found the mangled remains of the two 
men, their throats cut, their chests laid open, and their 
hearts torn away. I asked my informant who these women 
were. He wondered at my ignorance, and replied that they 
were * Baobhan Sith ' (Fairy Furies). He often related 
similar stories. 

In Borve, Harris, or, according to some, in Mealista Uig, 
there was a poor widow who had a large family of young 
boys. She was one night busily engaged teasing some wool, 
of which she intended to make some stuff for clothing her 
boys. As she was laying by her work for the night she 
exclaimed with a sigh, ' When shall this wool be spun ? I 
wish — goodness be between me and harm — that this were 
the night.' She had no sooner ceased her speaking than a 
strange woman presented herself, followed by a host of 
others, and demanded work. The poor woman was be- 
wildered, and did not know what to do or say until the 
principal visitor reminded her of the wish she had expressed 
a short time before. 

She immediately gave the wool, and the leader of the 
party ordered that they should commence work, saying, 
'Siudaibh mhnathan ciribh siudaibh mhnathan cardaibh 
siudaibh mhnathan sniomhaibh.' Each of the train com- 
menced work busily. Cards and spinning-wheels were soon 
in requisition and as soon procured — where from nobody 
knew — and the wool was spun and ready for the loom in 
less than no time. No sooner was the loom required than 
it was provided, and the stuff was woven in less time still. 
In fine the cloth was waulked and ready for immediate 


use. Having accomplished what the woman wished for they 
demanded more work. 

The woman could think of none to give them, but fearing 
some mischief she made an excuse to go out for some work, 
and she went direct to her nearest neighbour's and consulted 
him as to how to get rid of the Fairies, telling him the circum- 
stances. He told her to take a vessel containing dirty water 
to the door, at the same time pretending that she was getting 
work for them. When she got to the door she was to cry 
out in a loud voice, ' Than Dun ri theine,' and no sooner would 
they hear this than they would make a speedy retreat. 
When the foremost of them would pass her in the door- 
way the man recommended that the vessel containing the 
dirty water should be thrown across her back {i.e. the 
Fairy's back), and that they would never return to demand 
more work. The woman did so and the Fairies never 

This is how the last each-uisge that was in Lewis 
came to his end : A man lived in Erista, in the parish of 
Uig, who was the tenant tacksman not only of that and 
the neighbouring village but of the extensive tract of land 
between Loch Eoag and Loch Langabhat. In the summer 
season he used to send his cattle to graze on the moor with 
two females to look after them. The women lived in a 
shieling in Glen Langabhat — where the ruins of the shieling 
are still to be seen. 

The women were frequently visited by the each-uisge in 
human form, but as he conducted himself in no way dis- 
agreeably they did not feel any repugnance to his visits. In 
the course of time, however, he seems to have undergone a 
change of disposition, inasmuch as his conduct towards 
them became highly offensive. He not only insulted and 
ill-treated themselves, but committed great depredations 
among their master's cattle — killing some of them on the 
spot and carrying some of them away. But, says my 
informant, he always had the form of a quadruped when he 



killed them on the spot, but of a man when taking them 
away and visiting the women. His indignities towards the 
women and his depredations amongst the cattle increased to 
such an extent that the women left the field to himself, and 
made their way to Erista, where they told their master how 
matters stood. Their master, not believing their reports, and 
deriding their cowardice, sent two ' sgallag's ' to the moors to 
see what was the real state of matters. When the ' sgallag's ' 
came in sight of Glen Shanndaig they saw the each-uisge in 
the act of taking one of the cattle away. This satisfied 
them, and they returned and told their master what they had 
seen. The owner of the cattle saw that he must get the 
each-uisge killed or else his cattle would be all lost to him. 
There was a man in Eashadir on the shores of Loch Roag 
who was a famous archer and who had killed some time 
before two each-uisge's, one in Skye and another in the 
parish of Lochs (Lewis). To him, then, the owner of the 
cattle went and offered him a great reward if he could kill 
the each-uisge. 

The archer, whose name was Macleod, agreed to go at 
once. He accordingly took his bow and arrows and started 
for the glen, accompanied by his son, who did not know 
where they were bound for till they were half-way on their 

When the son heard the object of the journey he would 
not by any means go, but wished to return home and let 
his father go alone. The father would not permit this, but 
bound his son with cords and left him there. 

Macleod proceeded alone on his way, and when he came 
in sight of the glen he saw the each-uisge coming up from 
the loch and making for him. He held himself in readiness, 
and when the beast was within range he let fly the arrow, 
which stuck in the creature's side, but did not in the least 
impede his progress. As he came still nearer, the man let go 
a second arrow, which caused the each-uisge to stagger, but 
still he came on with his mouth wide open and his eyes 
glaring. The man saw he was in danger and took out the 



Baobhag, the Fury of the Quiver, and placing it waited till 
the creature was near, when he fired it so that it went in at 
its mouth and through its heart. The beast fell dead, and 
Macleod cut off its tail as a pledge that he had killed the 
each-uisge, and picking up the Baobhag returned to the 
tacksman, who rewarded him generously. 

Now I shall give a few tales in Gaelic, as they were told 
to me. They are always much better in Gaelic : — 

Bha duine meat ann am Bearnaraidh, fear Lachlainn . 

Bha e fas mor ach cha robh dad a dh^ fheum ann. Ach 's e 
bh'ann sitheach. Chunnaic fear sithichean agus labhair e 
riu ann an iomadh cainnt, ach cha do fhreagair iad e. Ach 
mu dheireadh labhair e riu anns a Ghaidhlig ! Dh' fhiosraich 

e dhiubh an ann aca a bha Lachlainn . Thubhairt iad 

gur ann agus a s teach a thug iad e do'n chnoc ! 

Bha duine araidh a toirt dhachaidh mbineach 's an anmoich 
mar a bha iomadh duine coir roimhe. 'Nuair a bha a chliabh 
Ian thuirt e, * Is truagh nach robh duine agam a thogadh 
an cliabh orm.' Cha luaith a thubhairt e so na fhuair e mar 
a mhianaich e. Thuirt fear a chleibh, ' co so a thog an 
cliabh orm ? ' ' Thog,' ars' an sithich, ' fear a bhitheas 
toileach air do chuideachadh anns gach cruaidh chas anns an 
tachair dhuit a bhi.^ * Is maith an naidheachd sin,' ars' fear 
a chleibh. * Tha tigh agam ri dheanamh agus b'fheairrde mi 
cuideachadh.' Thainig na sithichean agus thog iad an tigh 
agus cha robh iad fein fada ris. Ach ma bha an duine riamh 
ann an cruaidh chas air son obair a bhi aige bha e nis da 
rireamh ann an cruaidh chas air son nach robh obair aige a 
chumadh riutha, oir dh' fheumadh e so a dheanadh. Na eigin 
anns a chuis so chaidh e a dh' ionnsaidh sean duine bha 's an 
aite fiach ciod bu choir dha dheanamh. 

Thuirt e ris, ' larr orra ceanglachain a chuir air an tigh 
ach ceangail fiodhaig a chuir air gach ceann de'n tigh.' Na 'n 
deanadh iad so cha b' urrainn iad fein buaidh sam bith a bhi 


aca air an tigh. Dhiult iad so a dheanamh agus thuirt iad 
ris mur an robh an tuillidh obair aige dhaibh gii 'n deanadh 
iad sud agus so air. Thuirt an sean duine ris an sin iarraidh 
orra sugan ceann-ordaig a dheanamh de 'n ghainmhich air 
son trodh do n tigh. Dh' fhiach iad ri so a dheanamh ach 
cha b'urrainn iad. Bha 'n traigh 's a mhaduinn mar gu'm 
bitheadh e air a chladhach 'o ghrunnd. 'Nuair a chaidh so 
an uachdair orra dh'fhag iad an duine agus an uair a dh'fhag 
iad e thuirt iad, * Soraidh leat fhein ach mallachd aig beul 
d' ionnsuiche.' 

Bha fear a dol seachad air cnoc le buideal air a mhuin. 
Chunnaic e dorus a bhrugh-sith fosgailte agus na sithichean 
a dannsadh a stigh. Chaidh e steach agus thoisich e air 
dannsadh agus am buideal air a mhuin. Aig ceann bliadhna 
chaidh coimhearsnach an rathad. Chunnaic e am brugh 
fosgailte agus fear a bhuideil a dannsadh agus a bhuideal air 
a mhuin. 

Chaidh e steach agus thuirt e ri charaid, *Thig dhuit 
sgur de dhannsadh, a dhinne.' Thuirt e nach robh cho fad 
sin 'o n thoisich e. Cha do shaoil e bhliadhna a dannsadh 
anns a bhrugh ach mar greis de latha. 

Bha a phiob gu trie agus gu minic air a chluinntinn anns a 
bhrugh-shith. Is e na briathran so a leanas pairt de phort- 
sith a bha uair agus uair air a chluinntinn : — 

* Am faic thu nic Dhuinn leis a chrodh laoigh ? 
Am faic thu nic Dhuinn leis a chrodh laoigh 1 
Am faic thu nic Dhuinn leis a chrodh laoigh 1 ' 

Air do dhuine na aonar a bhi dlu do'n bhrughaich-sith so, 
chuala e g a eigheach air ainm mar so : * Dhomhuill dhuinn 
's a Dhomhuill dhuinn, rainig thu fada gu leor.' 

Bhiodh na sithichean gu trie agus gu minic a toirt clann 
bheaga leo agus a fagail fear dhiubh fein na aite. B abhaist 
a radh ri neach air nach bitheadh coltas slainte, ' Tha thu 



anns na cnuic', no, 'Is tu tha anns na cnuic' Aig bean 
araidh bha sitheach an ait' a leanabh fhein. Cha robh ire no 
piseach a tighinn air agus cha robh rkn a dol as a cheann. 
Thubhairt i ris latha de laithibh, * 'S mi tha seachd sgith 
dhiot.' * Ma tha,' ars' esan agus e freagairt,' n'an deanadh 
tu run maith ormsa bheirinn faochadh dhuit agus dheanainn 
greis dhannsadh dhuit.' Thuirt i ris gu'n deanadh i sin. 
Sud e air an lair na bhodach beag sgiobalt a dannsadh ! 
Nuair a bha e sgith thainig e air ais d'a h-uchd mar a bha e 
roimhe. Dh'innis i d' a fear mar a thachair. Chomhairlich 
e dhith teine mor a chuir air a maireach agus iarraidh air 
dannsadh a dheanamh mar a rinn e an de. Agus 'nuair a 
bhitheadh e ri dannsadh a thilgeadh am muUach an teine. 
Rinn i mar a dh' iarr e oirre. — Sud e mach an dorus anns an 
ranail, agus cha luaithe dh' fhalbh e na thainig a leanabh 

Air do dhuine araidh a bhi sgith le obair na h-earraich mar 
a bha iomadh duine coir roimhe thubhairt e 'san anmoich 
'nuair a bha e sgur de dh'obair an latha — ' 'S truagh nach 
robh luchd cuideachd agam ! ' Cha luath 
thainig luchd cuideachd gu leor. Bha 'n 
ullamh 's a mhaduinn. Dh' fhuirich aon 
cumadh tuarasdail a dheanamh ris. B'e 
dh'iarr e sguab air son na h-uile fear a bha 'g obair. Air a so 
chord iad. Bha naodh cruachan arbhair aige 's an fhoghair. 
Thainig iad air tbir an tuarasdail. Thug gach fear leis sguab 
gus an tug iad leo na h-uile sguab a dh' fhas dha. Nuair a 
chunnaic e gu 'n robh iad a toirt leo na h-uile sguab shuidh 
e air sguab, ach bha aon sitheach gun sguab. Nuair a 
chunnaic e so thilg e an sguab sin as a dheigh. Tha na 
sithichean cho lionmhor 's gu'm bheil e na fhacal againn — 
' Cho lionmhor ri muinntir Fhionnlaidh,' 's e ' muinntir 
Fhionnlaidh ' a their sinn ris na sithichean. 


thuirt e so 

treabhadh aige 

diubh air son 

tuarasdal a 


Bha sithichean Chnoc Mhor Arnail agus teaghlach a bha 's 
a choimhearsnachd n'an nabaidhean maith— cho maith 's gu n 
robh iad a deasachadh am bith 's an aon choire. 'S ann do 



mhuinntir tir - nam-fear-beo a bhuineadh an coire, agus 
bhitheadh na sithicbean a tighinn air a tboir cbo trie 'sa 
bhiodh feum ac* air agus ga chuir a rithist air ais. Ach mar 
a chuala sinn roimbe db' fbeumadb muinntir an tigb radb 
mar so ri muinntir a bbrugb na b-uile uair a bbeireadb iad 
leo an coire — ' Dleasaidb gobba gual gu iarrunn fuar a bbleith, 
Dleasaidb coire cnaimb 's a cur slan gu teacb.' 


From tbe Frencb of Pere Louis Gougaud 

Jonas, wbo was at first a monk of Bobbio, and lived a long time 
in Gaul in tbe midst of tbe disciples of St. Columbanus, wrote 
bis Vita Columbani abhatis discipulorumque eius less tban 
tbirty years after tbe deatb of tbe saint (615).^ We know 
tbat Bruno Kruscb bas publisbed, in tbe Monumenta Ger- 
maniae historica,'^ a critical edition of tbis important work 
wbicb bas been warmly received by all students of tbe bagio- 
grapbaJ texts of tbe Merovingian period.^ A simple note in 
tbis scbolarly edition, a note intended to elucidate a passage 
in Cbap. iv. of Book i., dealing witb tbe journey of St. Col- 
umbanus from Ireland to Gaul, bas specially struck our 
attention, and is responsible for tbe present inquiry. 

Tbis is bow Jonas relates tbe circumstances of tbe journey 
in question. Leaving, about 590, bis monastery of Bangor, 
in Ulster, Columbanus crosses tbe sea witb twelve com- 
panions and reacbes tbe sbores of Britain {Ad Britannicos 
jperveniunt sinus), Tbere tbe monks remain for some time, 

1 The second book of the Vita was written about 642 ; cf. Monumenta Germa- 
niae historica ; ScriptoresrerumMerovingicarum^ vol. iv. (1902), Br. Krusch's preface 
to the Vita Columbani, p. 36. 

2 Edit, cit., pp. 1-156. 

^ Cf. Analecta Bollandiana (A. Poncelet), vol. xxii. (1903), p. 103 sq. ; Revue des 
Questions historiques (E. Vacandard), vol. Ixxvii. (1904), pp. 586 sq. ; Revue d'Histoire 
ecclesiastique (L. Van der Essen), vol. v. 838 sq. etc. 



unable to decide upon a destination for the continuation 
of their journey. At last they determine to go to Gaul 
[Placet tandem arva Gallica planta terere). If they find in 
this country a favourable soil for the seed of salvation, they 
will sow it there ; if not, it will be carried to the neighbour- 
ing nations. Having formed these resolutions, the mission- 
aries leave the shores of Britain and make for Gaul {A 
Britannicis ergo sinibus progressi, ad Gallias tendunt)} 

In such terms Jonas tells of the beginning of St. Col- 
umbanus's wanderings. Now, the interpretation of this text 
presents a great diflSculty. Do the words ' Britannici sinus ' 
mean the coasts of Great Britain, or do they mean those of 
Armorican Britain ? That is the question which Bruno Krusch 
has summarily determined in the note to which we have just 

According to him it is Armorican Britain, ^Britannia 
Gallica ' that is meant here. Walahfrid Strabo and all the 
writers after him, who have maintained that, on his way to 
Gaul, St. Columbanus had passed through Great Britain 
were mistaken.^ We do not, however, believe, for our part, 
that Bruno Krusch's solution is convincing. Without claiming 
to attain, in such matters, to absolute certainty, we think 
that the probabilities are greatly on the side of the opinion 
that the eminent critic feels he must set aside. 

It must be recognised at the outset that the text is really 
ambiguous. To read it in detachment, without comparing it 
with any other passage in the Vita Columhani, without taking 
into account the data supplied by other sources, would be, it 
seems, to make it impossible to pronounce for one view or the 
other. Arthur de la Borderie^ and M. J. Loth* have shown 

^ Jonas, Vita Columbani, i. 4, 5 ; Krusch edit. p. 71. We reproduce these texts 
on p. 179. 

2 This note is thus worded : ' Britannica Gallia intelligitur neque magna, de qua 
post Walahfridum etiam recentiones nonnulli cogitaverunt ; cf. infra, c. 21 : ut Ligeris 
scafa reciperetur Britannicoque sinu redderetur.' (Op. cit. p. 71, n. 1). Krusch has 
reproduced this note identically in his new edition of the Lives of Jonas (Script, rer. 
germ, in usum scholarum, 1905, p. 160, n. 2). 

2 A. de la Borderie, Histoire de Bretagne, 1896, Bk. i. p. 247 sq. 

* J. Loth, L' emigration bretonne en ArmoriqiLe, 1883, p. 153. Cf. A. Longnon, 
Geographie de la Gaule au Vie sikle^ 1878, p. 169 sq. 



that the emigration of the insular Britons to Armorica, begun 
in the second half of the fifth century, was continued in the 
following centuries and produced rather quickly the change 
in the country's name. That portion of the tractus armori- 
canus, which was occupied by the emigrants is already 
referred to, — perhaps in the letters of Sidonius Apollinarius,^ 
certainly in Venantius Fortunatus,^ and Gregory of Tours, ^ 
under the names of Britannia, Britanniae ; and the inhabi- 
tants of the country are called Britanni or Britones. It 
will be seen that St. Columbanus, writing from Nantes, 
in 610, to the monks of Luxeuil, tells them that he is 
in vicinia Britonum} A priori, therefore, there is nothing 
to prevent us from believing that the words ' Britannicos 
sinus, Britannicis sinibus' in chapters iv. and v. of the 
Vita, published, as we know, about 642, may mean Gallic 

These words being as applicable to Little Britain as to 
Great Britain, it is advisable to try to find, outside of Jonas's 
work, information to enable us to clear up this obscure 
question in the itinerary of St. Columbanus. 

We find in chapter vi. of the Ghronicon Centulense 
or Hariulfs Chronicle of the Abbey of St. Eiquier, first pub- 
lished in the year 1088,^ a reference to our saint's arrival in 
Gaul. The author tells us how Riquier, young, and as yet 

1 Sidonius ApoUinarius, Epistolae, i. 7 ; Leutjohann edit. M. G. H., Auct. 
Antiq., Bk. viii. p. 11. The letters of Sidonius ApoUinarius were published between 
473 and 484 (A. Molinier, Les Sources de VHistoire de France, 1902, vol. i. 
p. 45). 

2 Venantius Fortunatus, Carmina, iii. viii. ; Leo edit. M. G. H., Auct. Antiq., 
Bk. IV. p. 59 ; Vita S. Paterni, x. ; Krusch edit. Auct. Antiq., iv. p. 36 ; Vita 
Beati Maurilii, xvi., Krusch edit, ihid., p. 9. 

3 Gregory of Tours, Historia Francorum, iv. 4, 20 ; v. 16, 27, etc. ; Krusch 
edit. M. G. H., Script, rer. Merov., Bk i. pp. 143, 157, etc. The four first books of 
the Hist. Franc, were written about 576, the fifth and the sixth between 587 and 
591 (Molinier, work mentioned, p. 57). 

* Columbanus, Ep. iv. Gunlach edit. M. G. H., Epistolae Merovingici et Karolini 
aevi, Bk. i. p. 169. 

5 Hariulf, Chronique de VAbbaye de Saint-Biquier (5th century — 1104) F. Lot's 
edit., 1894 (a collection of texts for use in the study and teaching of history) 
pp. xvii, xviiL 



finding satisfaction in the moral standards of the age, having 
welcomed under his roof two poor Irish missionaries whom the 
inhabitants of Ponthieu wanted to drive away, was suddenly- 
converted by his guests. Now, these two proteges of the 
future superior of Centule, who were named Chaidoc and 
Frichor, were, according to Hariulf, travelling companions of 
St. Columbanus. 

Then, setting down a local tradition, the writer adds : 
* It is said that they landed here with him.' {Fertur vero 
quod cum ipso illi quoque maria hue properando trans- 
mearunt)} It is clear to demonstration that this band of 
monks, landing in the neighbourhood of the locality where 
later the monastery of Centule was to rise,^ could have come 
by sea only from the Island of Britain.^ It is important, 
however, to realise that the chronicler is here merely record- 
ing a current tradition of the country. What is the value 
of this tradition relating to events five hundred years old ? 
This we are unable to settle with certainty. Yet let us observe 
that by general consent, Hariulf is credited with a literary 
honesty very unusual in his time. He tells us himself that 
he has rejected a considerable number of statements which 
were known to him only through popular tradition. Besides, 
when the events which he relates do not seem to him beyond 

1 Hariulf, Chronique, i. 6 ; Lot edit. p. 15-16. The name of Frichor is found only 
in Bk. II. chap. ii. 

2 St. Riquier ; department of La Somme, district of Abbeville, canton of Ailly-le- 

2 The oldest life of St. Riquier, discovered in 1903 by A. Poncelet, states (Oop, 
2) : Fithori ex Hihernia et Chaidocus ex Iscotorum patria veniebant Siccambriam 
(that is to say, to the country of the Franks). On this document, see A. Poncelet, 
Analeda Bollandiana, Bk. xxii., 1903, p. 173 sq.\ Bk. xxiii., 1904, p. 106 sq.; 
Bruno Krusch, Neues Archiv, Bk. xxix., 1903, pp. 13-48. The present work does 
not claim to settle St. Columbanus's place of landing in Gaul. In this connection, 
let us mention, as a matter of curiosity, Remondini's hypothesis, set forth by 
Margaret Stokes in Six Months in the Apennines, 1892, p. 167 sq. From a very 
imperfect inscription deciphered from a fragment of the original tomb of 
St. Columbanus, at Bobbio, the Italian archaeologist thinks we may infer that 
the saint landed in Friesland : ' Nothing is more probable than that he had to cross 
Frisia.' Remondini's conjecture, which, after all, rests solely on the following 
remnants of the inscription : legatio resp . . . is . pe . . . ne reqem frix . . . , 
is, we submit, more ingenious than convincing. 


all suspicion, he warns the reader of the fact/ Sometimes, 
too, he corrects the inaccuracies which he meets with in the 
sources of his narrative. That is not to say that he has 
corrected them all, for the Vita Columhani, which he had 
before him,^ specially led him astray in the matter of the 
king, with whom St. Columbanus got into relationship on 
arriving in Gaul.^ But what is there astonishing in a writer 
of the eleventh century not being struck with an anachron- 
ism which did not offend much earlier writers, such as 
Wettin and Walahfrid Strabo. Moreover, whatever may be 
the value of the tradition according to which Chaidocus and 
Frichor accompanied St. Columbanus on his passage, the 
fact of its insertion in the Chronicle of St. Riquier, combined 
with the certainty of Hariulf s acquaintance with the fourth 
and fifth chapters of the Life of St. Columbanus, points to 
a conclusion which is, we believe, not altogether devoid 
of interest. Indeed, if the chronicler had read the text of 
Jonas after the manner of Krusch, it would have been im- 
possible for him to accept the tradition of Centule. As he 
has not rejected this tradition, he must therefore have taken 
our interpretation of the text. Therefore, from all the 
preceding considerations there emerges at least one fact, 
namely that in the eleventh century it was believed, on the 
authority of Jonas, that St. Columbanus, on his way from 
Ireland, had passed through Great Britain. The mere 
perusal of the works of those historians and critics of later 
centuries who have written the biography of the founder 
of Luxeuil, proves that these authors held the same opinion. 
Lastly, the clear-sighted author of the most recent life of 
St. Columbanus, M. TAbbe E. Martin, while readily deferring 
on more than one point to the information supplied by 
Krusch, does not hesitate on this question to differ from 
him. Indeed, this is how he expresses himself at the close 

1 Hariulf, i. 17 ; Lot, p. 29. 

2 Hariulf, i. 4, 5 ; Lot, p. 12 sq. 

^ Hariulf, i. 2 and 3. A manuscript of the Vita Columhani is mentioned in the 
list of books published by Gervin i. (1045-1075) at the Abbey of St. Riquier (Lot, 
p. xxi). 



of his introductory chapter : * They [Columbanus and his 
disciples] crossed the Irish Sea ; in front of them were out- 
lined the Coasts of Britain ; they landed there like many of 
their predecessors in days gone by. But the great island 
was inhabited by people of their own race ; it was groan- 
ing under the yoke of the Angles and the Saxons, those 
accursed invaders. It was not there that solitude and peace 
were to be found. They rested there some time ; then they 
resumed their adventurous journey and thus arrived in 

According to Bruno Krusch it is a passage in Walahfrid 
Strabo*s Vita Galli that has led all later writers astray 
on the itinerary of Saint Columbanus. The passage in 
question is in itself very clear and does not leave a shadow 
of doubt as to the author's meaning. Here it is : ^ Ascen- 
denies igitur navem, venerunt Britanniam et inde ad Gallias 
transfretarunt' For what reason does Bruno Krusch reject 
a text so clear ? He does not tell us in as many words in 
the brief note which he devotes to it ; ^ but the reason can 
easily be guessed. It is because he believes the purport of 
it irreconcilable with that of chapters iv. and v. of the Vita 
Columbani. The latter document being the older, it is on it 
that reliance must be placed. Our view is quite the opposite. 
We are of opinion that, so far from contradicting one another, 
the two texts elucidate one another. Jonas had written, we 
know, vaguely * a Britannicis ergo sinihus progressi, ad Gallias 
tendunt' Walahfrid, who, like Hariulf, was acquainted 
with the work of Jonas, and was, moreover, favourably 
situated for acquainting himself personally with the facts 
regarding the doings of the master of St. Gall, wrote in a 
manner that dispels all doubt : * venerunt Britanniam et inde 
ad Gallias transfretaruntJ We see, and we shall see still 
better presently, that there is no contradiction between the 
two authors ; only the one expresses himself less vaguely 

^ This note, appended to the Vita Columbani already quoted says : * Hanc trans- 
fretationem haudquaquam recte statuit Walahfridus, Britanniam accipiens non 
Gallicam sed magnam.' 


than the other. It is not for us to blame him for that. The 
final result of all that is that in the ninth, as in the eleventh 
century, at Reichenau, at St. Gall as at St. Riquier, it was 
believed that St. Columbanus and his disciples had passed 
through insular Britain. 

St. Columbanus is justly regarded as the initiator of the 
great migration movement of the Scotti to the Continent, 
which lasted down to the decline of the Carlovingian period. 
The cause and the aim of these numerous migrations have 
varied according to the period. In the time of Charlemagne 
and of his successors, it was due to the intellectual revival in 
the East brought about by such men as Clement, Virgil of 
Salzburg, Dungal, and Sedulius Scottus. 

Altogether different were the objects of St. Columbanus 
when he left Bangor. The austere recluse whom he had 
consulted in his youth as to his vocation had directed him to 
spend himself, outside of his native land, in the service of 
Christ. This advice, given in the form of an oracle, seems to 
have made the deepest impression on him.^ From that time 
the word of the Lord to Abraham : Egredere de terra tua 
became, so to speak, his motto and that of all the wandering 
Scots, his imitators.^ He leaves in succession the paternal 
roof, his province, and finally, soon afterwards, his monastery 
and the land of Erin, resolved to give himself to perpetual 
exile and to the labours of apostleship.^ Now, what country 
more favourable to a first fulfilment of this vow than the 
Island of Britain ? St. Columba of lona, who maintained a 
correspondence with St. Comgall, the abbot of Bangor,* had, 

1 . . . et nisi fragilis sexus obstasset, mare transacto, potioris peregrinationes . . . 
Perge, inquit, o iuvenis, perge, evade ruinam, per quam multos comperis corruisse, 
declina viam, quae inferi ducit ad valvas 1 ( Vita Golumhani, i. 3 : Krusch, p. 68-69). 

2 Jonas, V.G. i. 3 ; Krusch, p. 70. Lives of the Saints from the Booh of Lismore 
{Anecdota Oxoniensia) ed. Whitley Stokes, 1890. Nos. 586, 2740 and 4484; 
BoUandistes, Acta Sand. Oct. ix., p. 656. {Vita S. Donati epis. Fesulani) ; Vita 
Altonis Gap. 2, M. G. H. Scriptoi-es, xv. 2, p. 843 ; Mabillon, Act. Sanct. 0. S. B. 
1685, p. 493 ; Vita S. Gadroce, cap. 15). 

3 V. a, 1, 5, 6 ; Krusch, pp. 71, 72 ; Columban, Ep., iv., ed. Gundlach, M. G. H., 
Epist, t. i. 

* Act. Sanct. t. ii. de mai, p. 581 ; Adanman, Vita Sancti Golumhce, iii. 13. Cf. 

VOL. v. M 



in 565, made his way into the country of the Picts of Alba to 
revive the Gospel, formerly preached to the inhabitants by 
St. Ninian, but long ago blotted from their memory.^ At 
the moment when Columbanus was leaving Bangor, Columba 
was carrying on his mission in the North. The east and the 
south of the Island had fallen under the Anglo-Saxon sway. 
The British Church — which St. Germain of Auxerre and 
St. Loup of Troy had saved, in the preceding century, from 
the ravages of Pelagianism — driven back by the pagan invaders 
into the mountains of Cambria, was sinking into a condition 
of danger of which Gildas the Wise, that Celtic Salvien, has 
left us an extremely sad picture in his De Excidio BritannicB, 
As for the Angles and Saxons, they were still waiting for 
their first apostles. Not till 597 was Augustine to set foot 
on English soil. Therefore, from north to south of the island, 
what a vast field open to the active zeal of the thirteen 
monks of Bangor ! Let us note, moreover, that their monas- 
tery was already maintaining communication with the 
neighbouring island, and that some of their brotherhood had 
already been sent there by the Abbot Comgall. The latter, 
under whose direction St. Columbanus had matured his 
plans for his expatriation, had himself at one time, immedi- 
ately after his ordination as priest, thought seriously of 
travelling in Britain. Several priests and the bishop by whom 
he had been consecrated must have intervened to keep him 
in Ireland.^ 

If we take into account all these circumstances, is it not 
reasonable to suppose that St. Columbanus and his com- 
panions had determined to carry on their first campaign in 
Great Britain rather than in the Armorican peninsula, which 

Otto Seebass, Ueher Columba von Luxeuils Klosterregel und Busshuch^ 1883, 
p. 23. 

^ Bede, Eccles. Hist, iii. 4. Of. Zimmer Celtic Church in Britain and Ireland. 
Trans. A. Meyer, 1902, p. 73. 

2 BoUandistes, Acta Sanct, t. ii de mai ; Vita Comgalti, cap. 12, p. 583. See the 
esteemed work of Professor Kuno Meyer, Early Relations between Gael and Brython 
in the Trans, of the Hon. Soc. of Cymmrodorion : sess. 1895-96, passim, and especially 
pp. 60-66. 


at that time was still being filled with Christian emigrants 
who certainly had no lack of devoted pastors ? ^ 

Let us come now to the examination of the texts them- 
selves of the Vita Columhani. The conclusions which we 
shall be justified in drawing from them, so far from prejudic- 
ing, will simply corroborate and complete, the results already 
obtained. We have already, at the outset, submitted to the 
reader the salient points of the text at issue. We must at 
this point reproduce it in extenso : Chap. iv. . . . Carinamque 
ingressi [Columbanus et duodecim comites], dubias per 
freta ingrediuntur vias mitemque salum, prosperantibus 
zepherorum flabris, pernici cursu ad Brittanicos perveniunt 
sinus. Paulisper ibidem morantes, vires resumunt ancipitique 
animo anxia cordis consilia trutinantur. Placet tandem arva 
Gallica planta terere et mores hominum ferventi aestu 
sciscitare, et, si salus ibi serenda sit, quantisper commorari ; 
si obduratas caligine arrogantiae mentes repperiant, ad 
vicinas nationes pertransire. Chap. v. A Brittanicis ergo 
sinibus progressi, ad Gallias tendunt.^ The meaning which 
we propose for this text is as follows : St. Columbanus and 
his twelve companions cross the Irish Sea and land on the 
shores of Great Britain. They stay for some time in the 
country, devoting themselves, presumably, to a first apostolic 
effort. But, whether because their endeavours did not meet 
with success or from some other cause, — perhaps the desire 
to get farther away from Ireland, — the missionaries, after 
considerable hesitation, decided to make their way to Gaul. 
They take ship therefore on the south coast of the island and 
cross the Channel, which at that time was called the British 
Ocean [Oceanus Britannicus']. 

It is impossible, in our opinion, to take any other view of 
the meaning of this passage in the Life of St. Columbanus. 
On Krusch's interpretation what is the meaning of the 

1 The chief emigrations of missionaries from Great Britain arrived in Armorica in 
the first years of the sixth century. Paul Aur^lien, Tutwal, Leonor, Magloire, Briene, 
are contemporaries of Childebert (J. Loth, L'emigration Bretonne en Amorique^ 1883, 
p. 159). Cf. A de la Borderie, Histoire de Bretagne, 1896, pp. 335-469. 

2 Ed. Krusch, p. 71. 


following clause where it occurs in the text : * Placet tandem 
arva Gallica planta terere ' ; when Columbanus is already 
regarded as having reached Armorica and as having even 
resided there for some time ? Is Armorica not already Gaul ? 
What are we to think, moreover, in the same line of reason- 
ing, of the repeated use of the words Britannici sinus in 
Chapters iv. and v., meaning in both cases the coasts of 
Armorica ? In our theory, on the contrary, the double use 
of these words is easily explained. In the first case {ad 
Britannicos perveniunt sinus) is meant the Irish sea littoral 
where Columbanus lands on the island of Britain ; in the 
second (A Britannicis . . . sinibus progressi),^ it is a question 
of the south coast of Britain where he embarks for Gaul. 
Between these two voyages comes the short stay in the 
island (Paulisper ibi morantes, vires resumunt . . . ). 

But, if our anxiety to push our argument seems to put 
undue strain on the language of Jonas, let us be content to 
take the text as a whole and enquire whether the final 
impression left by it is not that the author wanted to speak 
of a sea from Great Britain to Gaul rather than a mere land 
journey made from the shores of Armorica towards the 
interior of Gaul ? 

To combat this interpretation Krusch quotes another 
passage of the Vita, taken from chapter xxi. of the First 
Book, where again mention is made of a ' Britannicus sinus.' 
In this place the biographer tells how Columbanus, con- 
demned to banishment by Brunehaut and Thierry ii., was 
taken down the Loire from Nevers to Nantes to be shipped 
at that port for Ireland : ' Deinde ad Nivernensem oppidum 
venit, custodibus antecedentibus ac subsequent ibus, ut 
Ligeris scafa reciperetur Britannicoque sinu (}ege : sinui) 

The word redderetur may serve us as a useful guide. If 
Columbanus was restored to the ' Britannicus sinus,' if he was 
taken back there, then this place must have been already 

^ With regard to the two different meanings given here and elsewhere to the word 
sinus, see Forcellini and Freund, sub verbo. 



included in his itinerary at the time of his voyage from 
Ireland to Gaul. It is important, therefore, to investigate 
which place Jonas exactly intended these words to mean. 
It is not possible to give them the same meaning as the 

* Britannici sinus ' of chapters iv. and v., where we have 
translated 'sinus' in the plural by the word 'shores' (rivage). 
Here we have the singular. Then where was Columbanus 
taken to ? To Nantes. Now, neither the town of Nantes 
nor the mouth of the Loire, nor the coast for a considerable 
distance northwards, formed part of Armorican Britain in 
the time of Columbanus and his biographer. The town of 
Vannes, situated some 65 miles north-west of Nantes, even 
then belonged to the Franks. 

Accordingly we are strongly inclined to believe that the 

* Britannicus sinus ' of chapter xxi. is not to be identified 
either with the place where Columbanus must have taken 
ship to go into exile or with the shores oversea where he was 
to be landed, but with the Mare Britannicum which had 
already, twenty years before, brought him to Gaul, and to 
which he was once more being committed. In addition to 
the fact that the boundaries of the seas of any particular 
ocean are always difficult to define accurately, the scarcity of 
maps in ancient times made them still more elastic. Besides, 
notions on the geography of Western Europe were of the 
vaguest. That the Italian, Jonas, should have imagined 
that his hero must have encountered again, at the mouth of 
the Loire, the same sea which he had crossed in 590 on his 
voyage from Great Britain, is nothing surprising. In point of 
fact, an examination of various texts anterior to Jonas estab- 
lishes the fact that the limits of the sea referred to under 
the name of Oceanus Britannicus or of Mare Britannicum 
were much less confined than the present limits of the 
Channel. Northwards they extended to the mouths of the 
Rhine and southwards at least to below the estuary of 
the Loire. Pomponius Mela places in the Mare Britannicum 
the island of Sena which was situated more than twenty-five 
miles south of Ushant, off Cape Race. In the Vita Sancti 



Albinif written by Venantius Fortunatus before 569, we see 
that the district of Vannes ( Venetica regio) is washed by the 
British Ocean (Oceano Britannico confinis). The author of 
the Vita Eligii, which dates from the first half of the eighth 
century, writes in chapter i. of the First Book : ' Igitur 
Eligius Lemovicae Galliarum urbis, quae ab Oceano Britan- 
nico fere ducentorum milium spatio seiungitur . . . oriundus 
fuit,' This passage is, moreover, merely borrowed from the 
Vita Sancti Hilarii, written by Venantius Fortunatus 
between 565 and 573, where we find : ' Igitur beatus Hilarius 
Pictavorum urbis episcopus regionis Aquitaniae oriundus, 
quae ab Oceano Britannico fere milia nonaginta seiungitur.' 
According to these hagiographers, then, Poitiers was situated 
about 90 miles, and Limoges 200 miles, from the British 
Ocean. The distance between the latter town and the sea 
is apparently meant to be taken from the mouth of the 
Loire, for the distance between Limoges and the nearest 
point of the coast (that is, near the mouth of the Charente) 
would be found to be barely 130 miles. At what point 
exactly did the Ocean cease to be called the * British Sea ' ? 
So vague is our knowledge that this question cannot be 
answered with certainty. But we may at least conclude 
from the preceding texts that the southern boundaries of 
the Mare Britannicum^ according to the geographical notions 
of the time, extended beyond the mouth of the Loire ; and 
that consequently a sea identical with it in name washed the 
northern shores and the southern shores of the peninsula of 
Britanny exactly as the Channel surrounds and washes the 
Cotentin. Hadrian de Valois, as early as the seventeenth 
century, reached these conclusions, founding entirely on the 
text of Pomponius Mela and — what is, for us, specially note- 
worthy — on the passage from Jonas of Bobbio the meaning of 
which we have been endeavouring to find.^ The other texts 
which we have adduced can only confirm these conclusions. 

^ *Ex quibus apparet oceanum Brittanicum, vel mare Brittanicum, quodJIonas 
sinum Brittanicum nuncupat, prope ad os Ligeris usque pertinuisse' (Adrien de 
Valois, Notitia Galliarum ordine litterarum digesta, 1675, p. 218). 



.n the ' sinus Britannicus ' in question we must, then, recog- 

lise merely the poetic name of the sea known to the ancient 

geographers as the Ma7^e Britannicum or the Oceanus Bri- 

mnicus,^ the sea crossed by Columbanus in 690, and to 

[which he was said to be restored in 610. Read in this sense, 

the text of Jonas could not, we see, be of any help to Bruno 

JKrusch for the support of his argument as to the journey of 

[the saint through Continental Britain. 

The final argument that we have to produce in favour of 
our opinion is drawn from the nationality of a number of 
Columbanus's companions in exile. When the abbot of 
Luxeuil received orders to quit the territories of King 
Thierry, all the monks wanted to accompany him, but the 
monarch's agents allowed only the brothers of Irish origin or 
those who had followed St. Columbanus from Britain to Gaul, 
to accompany their Father Superior : ' Nequaquam hinc se 
sequi aliis permissuros, nisi eos quos sui ortus terra dederat, 
vel qui e Britannica arva ipsum secuti fuerant ; ceteros qui 
Gallico orti solo, preceptis esse regiis inibi remansuros.' It 
will be seen at once how important to our argument is that 
simple expression ' secuti fuerant' That is the very key to 
the problem. Since these Britons followed Columbanus, 
their country of origin must have been on his route. The 
whole question is reduced to determining with which of the 
two Britains must be identified the * Britannica arva ' of the 
text which we have just reproduced. Bruno Krusch has not 
given his own personal opinion on this point ; ^ but, if we 
consult the toponomastic table of Volume iv. of the Scriptores 
rerum Merovingicarum, drawn up by Mr. W. Levison, we 

1 We read in Bk. ii chap, xxxiv. of Adamnan's Vita S. Columhce, ' Sancto Ger- 
mano episcopo, de Sinu Gallico, causa humanse salutis, ad Britanniam naviganti ' ; 
Fowler, in his edition of the Vita, and Wentworth Huyshe, consider this sinus 
Gallicus to be, not a particular Gulf of Gaul, but the 'British Channel' 

2 Yet he seems to have made an acknowledgment which is favourable to us in his 
preface to the Vies de S. Gall, edited by him in the same vol. as the Vita Columbani, 
p. 229 : ' Cum e Britannicis arvis magistrum [Gallus] secutus esset, ipsum sine dubio 
in exilium comitari a custodibus regiis a. 610 permissus est.' We know that St. Gall 
was Irish, consequently the words ' Britannica arva ' designate, from the pen of Krusch, 
the British Isles. 



find the words ^ Britannica arva' classed among the terms 
relating to Armorican Britain. This is in complete agreement 
with Krusch's theory of the journey of St. Columbanus ; but 
is it equally in agreement with the facts ? That seems to us 
controvertible. In our opinion, those Britons allowed to 
share the fate of the exile of 610 are islanders who had 
crossed from Great Britain to Gaul with the monks of 
Bangor in 590. Again, Jonas supplies us with the first proof 
of this statement. If the monks with whom we are con- 
cerned had been Armoricans by birth, it is clear that they 
would not have been allowed to follow their abbot; they 
would have been detained at Luxeuil, as natives of Gallic 
soil, since the above text lays it down that all those who 
were Gallico orti solo were obliged to remain in their own 
monastery. Politically independent, over the greater part of 
its area, of the Merovingian rule, the Armorican peninsula 
formed, nevertheless, physically a portion of Gallic soil. The 
study of the words of Jonas does not allow us to suppose 
that he intended, in this particular case, to exclude this 
portion of the territory of Gaul.-^ 

Nor is there anything in the sentence already quoted from 
the letter of St. Columbanus to the monks of Luxeuil, to 
warrant the belief that the Britons of the party, at the time 
of their journey to Nantes, were in the neighbourhood of 
their native country. Yet we may suppose that such a com- 
bination of circumstances would have been remarked by 
Columbanus. Besides, they all take ship with the exile. 
Once driven ashore by the providential storm which prevents 
their sailing, are they to carry away their master into Breton 
territory, and there provide him with a temporary refuge ? 
By no means. We conjecture that is was about this time 
that one of the monks, Potentianus, separated from the party 
to found the first Columbanian monastery in the West ; but it 
was at Coutances, outside of Brittany, that he established it.^ 

^ Cf. V. C, I. 6, ed. Krusch, p. 72. The French kings claimed to exercise a cer- 
tain suzerainty over the peninsula. (A. Long u on, Geogravhie de la Oaule au VP 
siecle, p. 170 sq.) 

* Jonas, V. 0., i. 21 ; Kru?ch, p. 94. 


Thus everything calls upon us to concede that those 
disciples who joined Columbanus in the course of his early 
travels and followed him into exile were insular Britons. 

Therefore, if we are not mistaken as to the cogency of 
our arguments, the conclusions to which they have led us 
may be summarised as follows : — 

I. The firm belief of the ancients, from Walahfrid Strabo 
(ninth century) to Hariulf (eleventh century), and that of the 
moderns down to the most recent of them, is that St. 
Columbanus, on his way to Gaul, passed through Great 
Britain and not through Continental Britain. 

II. The religious needs of the island towards the end of 
the sixth century, the relations maintained with it by the 
Irish, and especially by the monks of Bangor, the resolves of 
St. Columbanus at his departure from Ireland, all incline us 
to surmise that he first of all steered for that country. 

III. Finally, although Chapters iv. and v. of the first 
Book of the Vita Columbani, containing the story of the 
voyage, are somewhat difficult of exegesis, a careful examina- 
tion of them and a comparison with other passages of the 
Vita on the one hand, and with certain details in a letter of 
St. Columbanus on the other, oblige us to recognise that in 
the text of Jonas of Bobbio, almost a contemporary, it is 
really Great Britain that is meant and not, as Krusch has 
believed, Armorican Britain, a country entirely unconnected 
with the itinerary we have been discussing. 

It was the desire to study the cult of the great Irishman 
in this latter country that led us to clear up first of all this 
secondary point in a life of which others — and Bruno Krusch 
with conspicuous ability — have so well succeeded in settling 
the main outlines and in estimating the influence. 

Note. — Owing to the serious illness of Mr. Arthur Hughes, the articles 
on Welsh Literature are meantime suspended. 



A Scots Earl: The Life and Times of Archibald^ ninth Earl of Argyll. By 
John Willcock, B.D., F.R. Hist. Soc. Edinburgh : Andrew Elliot. 
10s. net. 

In an earlier volume ^ the author wrote of the life and times of Archibald, 
eighth Earl and first (and only) Marquess of Argyll. The present volume 
is a sequel to the former. The two give us a clear and well-written account 
of the leading events in the history of Scotland from the time when the 
quarrel between Charles i. and his subjects came to a head down to the 
year 1685. The period of Scottish history covered by the life of the 
Marquess of Argyll may appropriately be linked with a biography of that 
nobleman. No other person of his time so largely shaped the course of 
events or wielded such power as he did. Mr. Willcock calls him the 
'Great' Marquess. Among the Scottish statesmen of his day, the grim 
Archibald was the ablest, the greatest if you will. In that narrow sense he 
is entitled to the proud epithet. In any other it would be difficult to make 
the title good. The Marquess was a complex personality. But even by 
taking the most favourable view of his character and of many of his acts, 
one meets with many things which one does not usually associate with 
greatness, — rather the opposite. At the same time the position and ability 
of the father entitle him to rank as the foremost Scottish statesman of his 
day. No such claim can be made on behalf of the son. 

The ninth Earl of Argyll was a cultured nobleman of many excellent 
qualities and elevating tastes. He was a devoted husband, an affectionate 
father. He possessed to the full the high personal courage of his race, a 
feature which in the father, alone in his historic family, was conspicuously 
lacking. In his leisure hours he took delight in beautifying the grounds of 
Inveraray Castle. But throughout his chequered life one finds no evidence 
of outstanding ability or force of character. His career was indeed shaped 
rather by the dizzy eminence to which his father had raised the fortunes of 
the great house of which he was the head, and to the critical times in which 
he lived than by any capacity or will-power of his own. His father, apparently 
after some misgivings, finally submitted to Cromwell's government, while 
the son continued a firm royalist, actively engaged in the various movements 
for restoring the exiled king. But though bred a soldier he did not shine 
conspicuously as an officer. He frequently showed faults of temper which 
savoured as much of vanity as of pride. On refusing to take the oath of 
allegiance to the existing government, he was imprisoned and kept in con- 
finement until the Restoration. When his father was put to death in 1661, 
the title and extensive estates of the family were forfeited. The son was 

1 The Great Marquess, etc. etc. Oliphant, Anderson and Ferrier : Edinburgh and 


naturally indignant that his own unswerving loyalty did not suffice to avert 
so sweeping a sentence. He became foolishly involved in certain intrigues, 
upon which, when discovered, his enemies managed to construct a charge of 
*leasing-making,' under which he was tried and sentenced to death in 1662. 
The sentence was not, however, carried into effect ; instead thereof, the title 
of earl was restored to him soon afterwards, together with a considerable 
part of the family estates, a portion of these being reserved to pay his 
father's debts. The creditors, however, were not paid in full, and again and 
again they pressed their claims. The Earl repudiated personal responsibility, 
and Mr. Willcock considers his attitude not unreasonable. But his father 
the Marquess had been creditor as well as debtor. Among the Highland 
proprietors whom he in one way or other got into his debt was the chief of 
Duart. The Earl asked and obtained a decree of Court against Maclean, 
and proceeded, with the aid of Government troops, to enforce it. The 
Macleans and their friends resisted. Two expeditions were made to Mull, 
and eventually the Duart estates were taken possession of in payment of 
this debt. One would expect that the first use to be made of these lands 
would be to meet the Marquess's unsatisfied creditors. But Mr. Willcock, 
while indignant at the attitude of the barbarous Macleans and their abettors, 
does not say that anything of the sort was ever done. 

In the public life of Scotland, and especially in connection with the ecclesi- 
astical questions which agitated the country during the reign of Charles ii., the 
Earl took no prominent part. His father, the Marquess, was the leader of the 
Covenanters. The Earl, on the other hand, always supported the Government 
in its brutal treatment of these zealous men. It is indeed doubtful whether 
he was a Presbyterian or an Episcopalian. He placed indulged ministers in 
Argyllshire and attended their services there and elsewhere. The zeal 
which the Argyllshire clergy showed during the Marquess's lifetime in 
translating the Scriptures into Gaelic, and in printing a metrical translation 
of the Psalms, flagged from the Eestoration to the Revolution, and for this 
the son's ecclesiastical attitude was, in part at least, accountable. But, 
Presbyterian or Episcopalian, the Earl was a sturdy Protestant. Accord- 
ingly towards the end of Charles's reign, he came to be looked upon with 
disfavour by the Duke of York, the king's successor-designate and a 
Catholic. In the discussion of the Test Act in the Scottish Parliament the 
Earl expressed his views with great freedom, and when his turn came to 
subscribe that anomalous statute he did so, but with a reservation. This gave 
the Duke his opportunity, and was the means of the Earl's undoing. With 
consent of the king he was a second time charged with treason and leasing- 
making, and was condemned by a court now as amenable to the Duke of 
York as it formerly was to himself against Maclean of Duart. Greatly 
fearing that the King would sanction a sentence of death, and that on this 
occasion it would, through the enmity of York, be executed, he decided if 
possible to break ward. Through the courage and devotion of Lady Sophia 
Lindsay, his step-daughter, he managed to escape from Edinburgh Castle, 


where he was confined, and by the aid of zealous Protestant sympathisers he 
found his way after many adventures to London. 

The Earl remained for a while in comparative obscurity in London. His 
being in the city was indeed not unknown to the Government, but the fact 
was ignored. He sent a petition to the king, but no notice was taken of it. 
The apparent indifference, and even contempt, which such treatment indi- 
cated must have been galling to the proud and sensitive Earl; and soon we 
find him involved in various intrigues of a seditious character. A descent 
upon Scotland under his leadership, ostensibly in the interests of the 
Protestant faith, was much discussed by him and his fellow-conspirators. 
The project fell through, partly through want of money, but also in part 
through want of confidence in the Earl. Soon afterwards the Eye House 
Plot, in which he was involved, became known, and he could no longer 
remain in London. The Earl made good his escape to Holland, and lived in 
that country for two and a half years upon an estate which his previsive 
father had acquired for such a contingency as had now emerged. The fatuous 
scheme of a descent upon Scotland was taken up and now discussed with the 
many discontented Scotsmen in exile in Holland at the time. Charles ii. was 
dead, and his brother was by no means a popular successor. It was found 
that the Duke of Monmouth was ready to make a similar attempt upon 
England. Thus the ill-fated expedition under the command of the Earl of 
Argyll was made. Mr. Willcock describes in great detail and in vivid 
language this raid, as mad as it was foolish, from the day the conspirators 
left Holland (April 28, 1685) until the day when the Earl was captured in 
the disguise of a peasant near Renfrew (June 18th). 

The new king had few friends and many enemies, and magnanimity 
found little room in his nature. But it is safe to say that if the authorities 
of the day had brought Argyll to Edinburgh in the peasant's clothes in 
which they found him, and then suffered him to depart whither he would, 
the course of history would not be one whit altered. The inevitable 
Revolution would have come in due course. But the reputation of our 
Scots Earl would have suffered irretrievably. As it was, the Government 
decreed that the unjust sentence of death pronounced upon him four years 
previously should now take effect. Forthwith his countrymen forgot the 
Earl's crimes and follies, and remembered only his sufferings and his 
wrongs. And the finer traits of the man himself, for long obscured, now 
shone forth, — his fervent piety, his calm courage, his sweet resignation and 
tender affection. It is for this beautiful ending of a troubled life that to 
this day Scotsmen cherish the memory of the ninth Earl of Argyll. 

Mr. Willcock is to be congratulated upon the ability, and especially upon 
the conspicuous fairness, with which he describes and discusses the ecclesi- 
astical controversies of these distracted times. In avowed sympathy with 
the Covenanters, as almost all Scotsmen are, he is by no means blind to their 
many faults, nor does he fail to recognise occasional glimpses of reasonable- 
ness in their persecutors. Don. MacKinnon. 


S(ynie Passages in the Early History of Classical Learning in Ireland. By the 
Eight Honourable Mr. Justice Madden, M.A., Hon. LL.D., Vice- 
Chancellor of the University of Dublin. Dublin : Hodges, Figgis, 
& Co., Limited. 1908. 25. 66^. net. 

This suggestive little book of 101 pp. gives the text (revised, with notes 
and an appendix) of an address delivered at the inaugural meeting of the 
Trinity College Classical Society, in November 1907. Nothing could be 
more appropriate to the occasion. The address begins with a short sketch 
of the condition of classical learning in the early monastic schools which, 
instituted in Ireland soon after the time of St. Patrick, attracted students 
from England and the Continent to such an extent that Ireland might fitly 
be styled the University of Western Europe. That Irish scholars also 
migrated in large numbers to the Continent, and exercised much influence 
there, is well known. But Mr. Justice Madden's address deals especially 
with classical learning in Ireland at a much later time, that of Elizabeth. 
At the beginning of her reign he finds in Ireland a dual order of things. 
' Within the Pale, and in the principal cities outside its boundary, there 
were grammar-schools founded on the English model, some of them evi- 
dently of a high order, from which students proceeded to the English 
Universities. In Celtic Ireland there were schools of a different kind, 
endowed and protected by the chieftains, in which students were educated, 
not only in the native law and medicine, and in the bardic literature, but 
in the Latin classics ; and, as the result of this training, we find an acquaint- 
ance with Latin, as a written and as a spoken language, which careful 
university training might have developed into exact scholarship. The study 
of Greek, for which the ancient Scotic schools had been famous, had 
probably died out, as in the rest of Western Europe.' That this was so, 
the author has no difficulty in proving from contemporary evidence. He is 
further of opinion — and this is a point which would perhaps require further 
elaboration — that these native schools with their quite peculiar organisation, 
aims, and results, were the lineal descendants of the old monastic culture. 
The students worked largely in the open air, and they apparently rejoiced in 
a blessed absence of pressure, characteristics which survived in the * hedge 
schools ' of more recent times. In this way, among those ' meer Irish,' whom 
it was the lordly English fashion to regard as utter savages, Latin was 
generally spoken ' like a vulgar tongue ' in peasant's hut and chieftain's castle. 

The lecturer proceeds to deal with the efibrts made by Sir Henry 
Sidney, the Lord-Deputy, and others to systematise and improve education 
in Ireland by the foundation of twelve free grammar-schools in the principal 
towns all over the country, and the establishment of an Irish University. 
These wise and liberal projects failed, chiefly, in Mr. Justice Madden's 
opinion, owing to the niggardliness of Elizabeth's government in matters 
relating to Ireland. This was in 1565, but Trinity College was founded in 


The lecture, while not meant to be exhaustive, is a valuable and stimu- 
lating contribution to the inner history of Irish life in a period where 
hitherto military operations and political movements have mainly attracted 
attention. It may be read alongside of Mrs. Green's remarkable book 
The Making of Ireland and its Undoing. W. J. W. 

The Old Highlands. Glasgow : Sinclair. Price 6s. net. 

This is the third volume of the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Glasgow. 
It is a handsome volume, well got up and attractive in appearance, and 
quite abreast of the newest standards of paper, printing, and binding. The 
literary contents deserve a good setting, for the book contains much matter 
of value and interest in papers read to the Gaelic Society during the past 
twelve years. As there are only twelve articles in the volume, we can see 
that these form a very small part of the ' transactions ' of the Society, and 
in a prefatory note the Hon. Secretary tells us that many of the other 
papers read during these years have already appeared in magazine or book 

The first paper here is one by Dr. Kuno Meyer, given during his tenure 
of the Celtic Lectureship in the University of Glasgow. He writes on 
Ancient Gaelic Poetry, and shows his usual wide range of knowledge of the 
things pertaining not only to the literature and language but also to the 
history of the Gael. The article deals more with the Irish Poetry than with 
Scottish Gaelic, but that is no disadvantage, as it gives information new to 
many Scottish Gaels. Besides, we of Scotland cannot deny that the older 
literature is Irish. 

An equally able lecture by Professor Mackinnon on the Hymns of the 
Gael gives us the religious side of the poetry, and the two articles give us a 
fairly full general idea of the character of the early poems of our ancestors. 

Two Gaelic articles, one on Proverbs, by J. R. Macgille-na-brataich, and 
the other by Mr. William Mackenzie, recounting racy anecdotes, witticisms, 
and such, of the modern Highlander, will be popular with Gaelic readers. 

Papers which, taken together, give us an idea of the life of the olden 
Highlander, are one on ' Life in the Highlands in the Olden Times,' by Mr. 
William Mackay, and 'The Clan System as a Legal Entity,' by Mr. Hugh 
Macleod. Both these papers involved original documentary research. Mr. 
David Mackeggie's paper on ' Social Progress ' may be said to continue the 
picture. But indeed all the papers in the volume are of interest, and many 
of them of permanent interest, and to show this it is perhaps only necessary 
to say that besides those mentioned the authors are Dr. W. A. Craigie, 
Professor Magnus Maclean, Mr. Lachlan Macbean, Mr. Malcolm Macfarlane, 
and Mr. Henry Whyte. 

Dr. Neil Munro writes an introduction of a critical nature — critical not 
of the contents of this volume but of the way in which similar societies 
publish their * Transactions.' The criticisms might be answered, but we 


forbear, and heartily congratulate the Gaelic Society of Glasgow on the 
handsome legacy of £750 which enabled it to publish its third volume in its 
twenty-first year. 

Modern Gaelic Bards. M. C. Macleod. Stirling : Mackay. 5s. 

This is a collection of over one hundred poems or songs by ten of our 
best- known modern Gaelic poets. The work is opportune, for it is many 
years since the last collection of poems by various authors was published, 
and many Gaelic poets have come and gone whose works deserve such 

In the present volume the airs of songs are frequently given, and each 
author is prefaced by a short biographical notice and a portrait, and both 
add very considerably to the interest of the book. 

The traditional singer sitting by the peat fire or on the hillside, or it 
may be in the fishing-boat, prefaces the song by introducing the author — if 
he or she be known — telling any outstanding features of the life and family, 
and giving some idea of the character of the poet. From his own know- 
ledge or from tradition he tells the cause or circumstances of the composi- 
tion of the poem, and this forms the immediate introduction to it. 

Mr. Macleod has gone so far on these lines, and we commend the further 
example to his consideration. 

We have no adverse criticism to offer on this volume. We think that 
the compiler has done his work very satisfactorily, and though his selection 
might not be every one's choice, there can be no doubt as to the poems being 
representative of the best work of the various authors. 

We are glad to note that Mr. Macleod is to deal in a similar way with 
minor Gaelic bards. This is particularly desirable, for many men and women 
have written one poem or a few poems which are well worth preserving in this 
way, though they may not have written sufficient to form even a small 
volume. As a matter of fact most districts of the Highlands have their local 
versifier who is often a real poet. Such pieces as are worthy of print the 
Gaelic reading public — an increasing one we believe — would be glad to have, 
and in these days when prizes are needed for local mbid as well as for schools, 
Gaelic books of suitable price should meet with considerable encouragement. 
For our own part we believe in encouraging modern authors, not forgetting 
compilers and publishers, on these occasions, as well as the * mighty dead.' 
The book is well printed and nicely bound. 


With regard to Mr. Mackinlay's query as to the locality of the Cill-Iosa 
mentioned by Kev. J. B. Johnston, Mr. Johnston himself has forgotten his 
authority, but we may refer Mr. Mackinlay to Sir Herbert Maxwell's 
Studies in the Topography of Galloway, p. 38 : ' The name of the Saviour 
Himself seems to be preserved in Clachaneasy (Clachan losa) and Kirkchrist.' 



(Cuimhneachan air Maighstir Ailean) 


REVEREND ALLAN MACDONALD, of Eriskay, South Uist, 
Dean of the Isles 

A DESIRE to have erected in some suitable form a Memorial to this High- 
land Priest, Patriot, and Celtic Scholar has been expressed by people of all 
classes and creeds. To those who knew Father Allan remarks here are un- 
necessary. Those less fortunate may be referred to notices which have 
appeared in the Celtic Review and elsewhere. Ever kindly in thought and 
deed, and modest and retiring to a degree, he won the esteem of all with 
whom he came in contact. The pains he took to gather and preserve much 
of the fast-flitting folk-lore and song of Gaeldom, and the readiness with 
which he freely gave of the fruits of his labour in that field to others, have 
laid Celtic scholars everywhere under an indebtedness to him. The Com- 
mittee appointed for the purpose of carrying out the erection of an appro- 
priate memento hope that they will receive sufficient funds to enable them 
to have one erected, worthy of the object, in the isle of Eriskay, of which 
he lovingly wrote :— 

' Ged a gheibhinnse mo thaghadh, Lorn o dhuilleag, lom o mhuran, 

B' e mo rogh' dhe 'n Eorpa, Lom o churachd e6rna ; 

Aite tuinidh 'n cois na tuinne Air a luimead gur a lurach 

'N Eilein grinn na h-Oige. Learn a h-uile fod deth.' 

Subscriptions are requested to be kindly sent to the Honorary Treasurer 
to the Memorial Fund : — John Eraser, Esq., Banker, Lochboisdale, by 
Oban ; to any member of the Committee ; or to me ; and they will be 
duly acknowledged. Archd. A. Chisholm 

{Procurator Fiscal) y 
LoCHMADDY. Honorary Secretary to the Memorial Committee. 


Alexander Carmichael, Esq., F.S.A. (Scot.), Edinburgh; J. Coghlan, Esq., 
Headmaster, Eriskay Public School; The Rev. David Duncan, Minister of South 
Uist ; Donald Ferguson, Esq., J. P., South Lochboisdale ; John Eraser, Esq., Banker, 
Lochijoisdale ; John Macdonald, Esq., J. P., Factor for South Uist and Barra Estates, 
Askernish, Lochboisdale ; The Rev. Alexander Macdougall, Dalibrog, South Uist ; 
Simon Mackenzie, Esq., Lochboisdale and Castlebay ; William Mackenzie, Esq., 
Edinburgh ; The Rev. William Mackenzie, Craigston, Barra ; The Very Rev. Alex- 
ander, Canon Mackintosh, Fort- William; The Rev. John Macleod, Minister of 
Lochranza ; J. Rea, Esq. , Headmaster, Garrynamonie School ; The Right Rev. George 
J. Smith, D.D., Bishop of Argyll and the Isles, Bishop's House, Oban; Henry 
Whyte, Esq., 'Fionn,' Glasgow ; Thomas Wilson, Esq., Obbe, Harris. 

We very sincerely commend this memorial to the readers of the Celtic 
Review. Some of these knew ' Father Allan ' as he was called, and as he 
will always be affectionately remembered by those who did know him. 
These, and even those who did not have the great privilege of knowing this 
most noble of men, will, we trust, take the opportunity thus given of help- 
ing to make this a fitting memorial of the life it is to commemorate, remem- 
bering that ' a great cairn may be made with small stones.' 

His friend, Mr. W. B. Blaikie, bought Father Allan's MSS. for the 
Celtic Review, wishing that the money should be used in taking a much- 
needed holiday. But his church was nearer to his heart than his own 
needs, and to that the money was applied and the holiday was never taken. 
Extracts from the MSS. will appear from time to time as in this number. — Ed. 


JANUARY 15, 1909 


Although in these days of hurry and unrest, books of all 
kinds are issued daily by the hundred tons, in a manner that 
would astonish the patriarch who made the well-known 
remark about the making of many books proving a weariness 
to the flesh, it is quite true even now, when there are so 
many labour-saving devices of all kinds, that there is more 
than one weariness connected with the making of books from 
the time the author first puts his pen to paper to that when 
a member of the public purchases his or her copy in a retail 
bookseller's shop. 

Very few indeed of that public in their headlong race for 
very existence ever stop to think what an immense amount 
of labour and care is required before even the ordinary daily 
halfpenny or penny newspaper, which is a marvel of correct 
typography, can be produced, for how seldom does one find 
a misprint or a wrongly spelled word in one of them ? 

Of course this vigilance must be increased tenfold when 
publishing any educational work, such, for example, as a 
dictionary, and the difficulties are infinitely increased when 
that dictionary is one relating to a language whose spelling is 
not absolutely settled in many words. 

As a considerable portion of a new Gaelic dictionary has 
now been before the public for some years, owing to its appear- 
ance in parts during its progress through the press, we think 

VOL. V. N 


our readers may be interested to hear some of the peculiar 
circumstances attending its first evolution and a few of the 
difiiculties encountered by its author when attempting to 
print a book of such magnitude single handed, with practically 
no knowledge of printing beforehand, and how he overcame 
them entirely by the exercise of patience and with the help, 
when in difficulties, of a book on printing. 

The author of this voluminous work being originally 
intended for the engineering profession, he attended various 
classes held at King's College, London, where different 
branches of mechanics were taught. Firstly, in the evenings 
while still attending school there during the day-time, then 
after leaving school during the whole day, and finally, when 
the original project of his following the career of an engineer 
was finally abandoned, and he took an appointment as a 
clerk in the office of Cox & Co., army agents. Charing Cross, 
in which various members of his family have a total service 
of considerably over one hundred years, he still continued in 
his leisure hours to work away diligently at the forge, the 
lathe, and in the foundry, not knowing what might turn up 
in the future. 

Having now obtained a certain employment for the 
future, he decided, instead of occupying all his spare time 
with mechanics, to devote some to volunteering and various 
other pursuits. Having already served some months in the 
Queen's Westminster R.Y., he joined the famous London 
Scottish KV. on St. Andrew's Day, 1881. Taking a keen 
interest in Gaelic, pipe music, the crofter question, etc., at 
that time, he hoped to become better informed on each of 
them through a few years' contact with the members of that 
corps. Finding after five years' service that he had not made 
the expected progress, especially in Gaelic, owing chiefly to 
the lack of Gaelic speakers to be found among them, he then 
joined the 1st Argyle E.V. as a piper, doing his drills, class- 
firing, etc., during his vacations, now extended to a month 
each year. By this means he was brought into the necessary 
society for acquiring a good colloquial knowledge of Gaelic, 


but a month a year did not give sufficient opportunity to 
make such rapid progress as he desired. 

Finding the life of a clerk a dull and unattractive one, 
with the addition of being unhealthy in such a foggy centre 
as the Metropolis, our author decided on the expiry of his 
tenth year of service, having now a small competency, to 
leave it, and threw up his appointment. Putting to advan- 
tage the instruction received many years before, he took up 
various mechanical occupations in the land of the Gael, 
hoping by this means to reach at last the goal he had set 
himself, viz. the ability to speak Gaelic with a fluency that 
he now found to be quite unattainable by a stranger in any 
other way than by living continuously for several months 
among the people as one of themselves. It is well known 
how very difficult it is to get native Gaelic speakers to engage 
in a Gaelic conversation in the presence of any one they 
suppose to know English better than Gaelic. 

Being now fairly proficient on the national instrument too, 
he was always in great demand for weddings, ceilidhs, etc., 
especially when sojourning in the Western Isles, and he 
gladly made the most of this increased opportunity of be- 
coming better acquainted with Gaelic idioms and pronuncia- 
tion, the effect of which is felt to the present time, for he 
says many things occur in conversation that he feels better 
able to express in Gaelic than in English. 

Almost from the outset, it was found that the absence of 
a really reliable, concise, and up-to-date Gaelic dictionary was 
a most serious hindrance to an intelligent study of modern 
Gaelic, as so many songs, poems, etc., abound with the pro- 
vincialisms current where their authors lived, and these w^ere 
rarely to be found in any dictionary, in many cases the 
difficulty to a beginner of finding them being no doubt due to 
their provincial spelling. 

The author of Faclair Gaidhlig then determined to try 
and compile as complete a lexicon as he could on his own 
account. The first step was to get a copy of all the diction- 
aries hitherto published and see which was the most useful 



both for a beginner and a fairly advanced student, so that he 
might use this as a foundation for the new work. After 
careful consideration he decided that MacLeod and Dewar's 
best fulfilled these requirements. He then began to go 
through the Gaelic-English part of each of the other dic- 
tionaries, and afterwards the English-Gaelic part where one 
existed, because it was found the two parts did not corre- 
spond with one another in any of the dictionaries which had 
both. The plan followed was, when comparing another dic- 
tionary with that used as a basis, to write down on slips 
every Gaelic word or meaning of such met with, and not to 
be found in the latter, with a reference mark showing where 
the addition had been found. This plan was followed 
steadily on to the end of the last dictionary published. 
This part of the work, including searching of all modern 
Scottish-Gaelic books for words not in any dictionary, took 
about twelve years to accomplish, counting ten hours daily, 
and when all the slips, amounting to many thousands, were 
finished, the next step was to sort them into alphabetical 
order — no mean job. (Reader ! you write out, say, the prin- 
cipal words only in a page of Chambers s or any other 
dictionary on slips, then mix them well and sort into alpha- 
betical order. We do not think you will try a second page 
to see if two will take twice as long to do as one !) The 
slips being now all in order, and tied in packets, so many for 
each letter, the work of writing out the complete MS. com- 
menced in earnest, the plan followed being to copy out the 
Gaelic-English part of Macleod and Dewar until a slip was 
met with which contained a word or meaning given by 
another dictionary but not this one. This word was then 
inserted, and the MS. proceeded to the next omission. 
Sometimes five or six slips would follow each other, and at 
others ten or twelve words would be copied from the dic- 
tionary without any words having been found omitted. 

It was during the writing of this MS. that various 
acquaintances of the author, who were also interested in 
Gaelic studies, when they saw the work done, and realised 


its utility to learners, urged him so persistently to have it 
published that he at last consented. 

The difficulty now was to get the MS. efficiently revised, 
because, although the contents of all the dictionaries were 
now arranged in one alphabetical vocabulary, there were 
sure to be many varieties of spelling certain words, of which 
the best would have to be selected and used throughout the 
work, while it was inevitable that many small errors in 
grammar, idiom, etc., would occur owing to the work being 
all done by one who was not a native Gaelic speaker and only 
an indifferent scholar when he commenced to compile the 
dictionary. Having obtained promises to revise the proofs 
from several good Gaelic scholars, mostly connected with 
widely different districts, and all of whom eagerly welcomed 
the idea of an up-to-date Gaelic dictionary containing the 
first published lists of every available technical term besides 
provincialisms, the author decided to issue about ten sheets of 
proofs to each of these revisers at the same time, and then com- 
bine all their notes on one final proof before altering the type. 

It would have been impossible to send out the MS., 
weighing about a hundredweight or more, by this time 
written on both sides of the paper, interlined, and inter- 
leaved, and in some places even crossed in red ink as well, to 
all the readers in turn. In any case had they time and patience 
enough to read it through, there was no room for them to 
add their notes or additional words. An instalment of ten 
printed pages of such matter would be enough for the most 
zealous Gaelic scholar to refuse. 

The author says he has received the most valuable aid 
from all the readers mentioned in the preface to the Faclair, 
and all their suggestions have been carried out whenever 
practicable. His wife, also, assisted in giving meanings of 
phrases, etc., that none but a native speaker would under- 
stand, and in folding, preparing parts for post, etc., as well as 
proof-reading when time permitted. 

It is much to be regretted that the principal words could 
not have been printed in heavier type than the remainder, as 



is done in most English dictionaries, but that was found to be 
impossible owing to type of that description of the necessary 
size being unobtainable with accented letters. It was also 
very desirable that type of several sizes larger should have been 
employed, the present ' nonpareil ' being very trying to the 
eyes in setting, distributing, proof-reading, etc., when there 
is so much of it ; but had a larger type been used we should 
have had a whole shelf-full of books like Blackie's Encyclo- 
pcedia, instead of the present two volumes. 

A system having now been arrived at by which the proofs 
could be satisfactorily revised, the next point was to find a 
printer who would undertake the work at such a price as the 
author was able to pay. Such, however, was not to be found, 
unless a very much larger number of subscribers were found 
than were ever likely to require the work. This was the 
first obstacle met with, which, it seemed, mere patience would 
never overcome. 

Having had a very limited experience of printing in the 
issue of a little Gaelic Pocket-Book for 1901, at a profit of a 
few shillings, on a rough wooden printing-press made by 
himself — the issue for 1900 had been printed at a loss of 
several pounds — he decided to get some second-hand materials, 
and, if possible, a second-hand iron press — new ones were far 
beyond his ability to pay for. 

Having purchased and studied for some weeks a book for 
which he has the highest praise. Practical Printing, he set 
up a specimen page and order form to send out to some 
hundreds of possible subscribers. He learned the art of 
practical printing entirely from this book and from practice, 
having had no assistance whatever from any professional 
printer before commencing the dictionary. 

For the first six months no one seemed to want the new 
dictionary except the author's most intimate friends, the few 
who took the trouble to answer the circular appearing quite 
satisfied with the dictionaries they already had, which proved 
they were not thorough in their Gaelic studies. 

The Press from the commencement gave the work the 


most unqualified praise, continually urging their tardy readers 
to hasten and subscribe, to give encouragement to the com- 
piler, etc., and it is worthy of remark that to his knowledge 
no unfavourable review of the Faclair has ever appeared. 

As it seemed hopeless to find any printer willing to take 
up the work, the author thought, in what he considers an un- 
guarded moment, he might get more second-hand materials, 
and begin to print the work single-handed until such time 
as a suitable printer could be found. We are very glad he 
did so, otherwise the work would no doubt be still packed 
away gathering dust in some forgotten corner. 

It seemed like moving a mountain with a wheelbarrow. 
Having obtained the necessary type to keep ten or twelve 
pages standing at once, the next thing was to get them 
stereotyped when the type was corrected. Here was a new 
difficulty never thought about before. No one within reason- 
able distance seemed very anxious to do any stereotyping, 
and it was out of the question to send over a hundredweight 
of type to London and back for the purpose once a month. 
At last a newspaper at Maidstone undertook to do it. Even 
when the stereotypers were found half-way between Lyminge 
and London, the cost of train between the printing-office and 
Maidstone soon became a serious item, besides entailing a 
journey of over a mile and a half with a wheelbarrow 
containing 150 lb. of type up and down some of the 
steepest hills in Kent, finishing up at the office, which 
was 600 feet above the sea, no carriers being available there 
when wanted. The expense of carriage in connection with 
these stereotyping outings soon became so serious that when 
Part 6 was completed, and a new office had been obtained 
with more room, our author decided to buy a stereo foundry 
and cast the plates himself, however difficult it might prove 
to be. The obstacles in making good plates were at last 
overcome, the last difficulty arising through using bought flong, 
i.e. the material for making the papier-mache moulds from 
the type, disappearing as soon as he made the flongs himself. 

During all this time the illustrations had to be drawn. 


blocks made, and names of firms obtained who could or would 
do the blocks. All these and many other matters to a novice 
were not easily surmounted. Not being able to find any one 
who would undertake to draw the illustrations, the author 
found it necessary to start in that line too, if the dictionary 
was to be an illustrated one at all. He then plodded on till . 
he finished the sketches for all the blocks used in the dic- 
tionary, with the exception of those pertaining to some 
native implements, etc., for which copy could not be found in 
Kent or London, and which were kindly contributed by a 
hearty supporter, Mr. Malcolm MacDonald, the well-known 
Stornoway artist. 

By a serious decrease in the author's income owing to 
unfortunate investments the labour of the whole affair was 
made much more arduous as time went on, and the number 
of subscribers did not increase in proportion to the expense 
of materials required. This obliged him to realise part of his 
capital from time to time to keep the dictionary going. 
Over one-third of the whole had been invested in a house 
and land which is much larger than he now requires or can 
afford. Expenses increased both in the family and in the 
business, as he now regarded the work of the Faclair. 

It thus became absolutely necessary to take immediate 
steps to fill the treasury. The Gaelic Pocket-books, already 
mentioned, increased in circulation but not in expense of 
production, so that line was pushed as much as possible as 
long as a good yearly increase continued. Then a sub- 
scriber to the Faclair luckily suggested to the editor the 
advisability of his publishing some Gaelic Christmas and 
New Year cards without a word of English on them. The 
suggester, like most who bought them, did not know that 
all this work, in addition to the dictionary, was done by one 
pair of hands, but thought that there were several engaged 
in type-setting, machinery, etc. These Christmas cards, 
which, from their sale, appeared to fill a felt want, were then 
boomed to the utmost as long as a reasonable demand lasted, 
with very helpful results. As both the Pocket-book and 


cards only supplied the money required during about three 
or four months of the year, it was soon decided to add book- 
selling to them, and that also gave some assistance. 

For the additional labour entailed by these new ventures, 
our author received no additional help from outside at all, 
although his family assisted him to the best of their power. 
During the Christmas card rushes, he and his wife worked 
till 11.30 and past midnight every night for many weeks, and 
even young children of four and five years of age diligently 
helped to fold, pack, etc. 

After four seasons of this very arduous task, the author 
began to feel very wearied every evening when the time 
came to light up, and owing to the immense correspon- 
dence necessary to the different kinds of work he had taken 
in hand — over 6550 letters and postcards being written in 
one of these years — he found it quite impossible to continue 
them all any longer without sacrificing his health altogether, 
so he was compelled to discontinue some. 

During three years a large amount of jobbing printing 
was done, the profits derived from this paying the cost of 
most of the materials used for the early parts of the Faclair, 
For two out of these years he devoted sixteen hours daily to 
the work without even the relaxation of Bank Holidays. 

The Christmas card branch was the first part of the busi- 
ness to be given up. These were last published during the 
winter of 1906-7, and now we hear he is compelled to re- 
linquish the Gaelic Pocket-books also, which he has compiled 
continuously for nine years and printed for eight, so that all 
available time may be given to pushing forward the Faclair 
as speedily as possible. Otherwise, he tells us, he is afraid 
he would not be able to complete it at all. There thus now 
only remain the profits of the small bookselling business, 
chiefly Gaelic, and any jobbing printing that may come 
along to meet the continued drain caused by the expense of 
materials required for the Faclair, over and above the amount 
of subscriptions received for parts sold. The Gaelic pictorial 
postcards he introduced some years ago, the only ones pub- 


lished, sold furiously at first ; but the Gael is going back to 
his fancy of cheap coloured English comic cards again now. 

The author was asked when he thought the dictionary 
would be finished if he continued single-handed. Although 
nearly one-third of the type still remains to be set up, 
he says he hopes he is within sight of the goal at last, 
although he is at times nearly collapsing with the strain on 
eyes and head. When completed, the Faclair will run into 
about 900 pages, demy 8vo. 

The greatest difficulty he has encountered since commenc- 
ing this arduous undertaking is to obtain sufficient subscribers 
to keep the ball rolling, and we regret to hear that the 
deficiency due to this is now compelling him to offer for sale 
his library of Gaelic books which he has been collecting for 
about thirty years. This should not be necessary, and is not 
creditable to the many persons now professing an interest in 
Gaelic study, nor to the many Highland societies among 
whose * objects' the * promotion of the Gaelic language' 
occupies a foremost place. The * Kent ' Dictionary, as it is 
often called, deserves, and we trust will forthwith get, the 
hearty support of all such persons and societies. Six or 
seven pence a number is surely within the means of all such. 



Frances M. Gostling 

Across the grey waters of the English Channel, guarded by 
rocks and shoals, lies the twilight land of Armorica, or, as 
it is usually called, Brittany, birthplace and home of one of 
the great modern Celtic writers, Anatole le Braz. No doubt 
many travellers have, like the present writer, discovered the 
works of this author on the bookstall of some Breton station, 
and learned to love them as they transformed what would 
have been a monotonous railway journey into a romantic pil- 
grimage. Yet it is also certain that his writings are not 


known as they should be in our very insular island, and there- 
fore for our own sakes, as well as for his, it seems but fitting 
that some one should attempt to introduce this author to the 
British public. 

Among the mountains of Are, very far from any town, is 
the village of Saint Servais, where, in 1859, Anatole le Braz 
was born. No surroundings could have accorded better with 
the future mapped out by fate for this Breton poet. The 
tiny village lies slumbering in the lap of the grey, mysteri- 
ous, mountain region, dreaming of superstitions and traditions 
long since forgotten in more accessible communes. Poor 
little village I mere handful of cottages, clustering round an 
ancient, moss-grown chapel! How many such do we not 
come across during a summer tour through Brittany. 

It is but a week or two since the writer of this article 
visited Saint Servais in company with Anatole le Braz, and 
heard the story of his childhood in the shade of the ancient 
chapel where once he worshipped. 

It was in the schoolhouse adjoining the graveyard that the 
boy's first years were passed, for his father was schoolmaster, 
with a very small income and a very large family. 

Of the chapel itself we hear in the introduction to Au 
Pays des Pardons, where the author tells of the yearly 
struggle for the little wooden statue of Saint Servais, the 
possession of which was supposed to insure a good harvest. 
Indeed the whole district teems with legends which early 
exercised an influence on the imaginative mind of the young 
Celt. There were the Death Legends, such as that ex- 
traordinary story of Glaoud-ar-Skanv recorded in the 
Legend de la Mort, Glaoud-ar-Skanv the drunkard who w^as 
carried off to hell by the devil, Old Polic, and delivered 
by his mother, who gave her only cow to Notre Dame of 
Loquetou to ransom him. 

And there is the history of the three tipsy young men of 
Duault, who barred the road with a dead tree, and were 
fetched from their beds by Ankou or Death, because his cart 
could not pass the barrier. 


It was among stories such as these that the boy was 
born and bred. In civiHsed England, such legends seem 
absurd and incredible, but in central Brittany, sitting round 
the fire on a stormy night, with the wind howling in the 
chimney, their improbability is not so obvious. 

* Is your house haunted ? ' I asked a farmer the other day, 
as I sat over a glass of cider with him and his wife. 

* No,' he answered. 

'Except,' corrected his wife, 'by Monsieur Kouge.' 

' Oh yes,' assented the man, * of course there 's Monsieur 

And it appeared that Monsieur Rouge was a phantom 
who had a rather distracting habit of rolling cannon balls up 
and down the room overhead. . . 

Saint Servais is one of the pilgrimage shrines that all 
Bretons must visit at least once during life. If they fail to do 
so they will have to accomplish the journey after death. In 
that case you take your coffin on your shoulder, and only 
proceed each day as far as the length of that coffin. In the 
wall of the chapel, close to the door of the le Braz's home, was 
the hole in the wall down which the dead men, having at 
length finished their involuntary pilgrimages, passed to their 
graves. Seated there at night, we are told, one could hear 
the dead rustling and stirring in their coffins. 

In this home the boy grew up, surrounded by the strange, 
mystical peasant life which clung round the old shrine. His 
father was himself a storehouse of legend, and so were the 
pilgrims and beggars who came thither from all parts of the 
C6tes-du-Nord. Such early impressions are ineffaceable ; and 
from that time to this the mind of Anatole le Braz has been 
steeped in the traditions of his race. 

When he was about ten years old, the boy lost his 
mother, and soon after his father sent him to school at Saint- 
Brieuc, from whence in a few years he proceeded to Paris, 
where he studied at the university. There was no money to 
pay for his college course, and he had to teach to provide for 
himself. Happily he found a useful pupil, a wealthy young 


lad who needed amusing as well as coaching, and it was with 
him that Monsieur le Braz went to Algeria, and became ac- 
quainted with the life of the desert, of which he has spoken 
in La Terre du Passe. 

On his return to Paris he continued teaching, and was so 
successful, that after passing all examinations, he found he 
had saved a considerable sum of money. 

But, like Chateaubriand, Souvestre, Renan, and all other 
Bretons of whom I have ever heard, he was homesick for his 
native land. In the Chansons de la Bretagne, there are 
many songs that tell of his exile, and as soon as he was ready 
to do so, he returned to Brittany, settling at Quimper, where 
for many years he taught and lectured, still working at folk- 
lore in conjunction with the Celtic scholar Francois Marie 

At length, in the year 1900, on the death of Arthur le 
Moine de la Borderie, Anatole le Braz was appointed 
Professor of Celtic Literature at the University of Bennes, 
where he now lectures and carries on his literary work. 

But during the long summer months he still lives as far 
as possible the peasant life of his childhood, idealised, modi- 
fied, enriched, it is true, but as simple, as homely, as pastoral, 
as that of the little schoolhouse at Saint Servais. 

I usually pass a few weeks every summer at this cottage 
home of M. le Braz, and I think my readers will better 
appreciate the work of the great artist if they also know it. 

In one of the sections of Fdques d'Islande, the author has 
thus described his home : — 

' We had been fishing in the ofiing, and were returning 
with the rising tide. It was a calm August evening, the dis- 
tance clothed in soft radiance, that hung in the air like gold 
dust. Overhead, the deep sky stretched above the waters in 
an immense vault. Leaning a little over on her right side, 
the Saint Yves sailed smoothly along, drawing behind her a 
slender wake, tinted purple by the setting sun, and casting 
before her on the scarce ruffled surface of the sea the grace- 
ful silhouette of her softly swelling foresails. 


* Under a light breeze we glided thus easily along, thread- 
ing our way among the islands that strew the English 
Channel off the coast of Tregor. 

* It is one of the most beautiful views I know. On all 
sides rose gigantic rocky profiles, colossal, enigmatic faces. 
The Castle Rock, covered with its fleece of sea-weed, crouched 
like a green bronze sphinx, guarding the entrance to the bay, 
while opposite, the isle of Saint Gildas lay sleeping, stretched 
lazily out beneath the shadow of its pine woods, a Breton 
Salamis ! Further away, towards the north, were the innu- 
merable reefs that lie off the coast of Plougrescant, looking 
like the heads of sheep swimming one after another through 
the water. And in the transparent, amber-tinted air, 
flocks of seamews were whirling, a living cloud. Before us 
the ridge of the coast, the seaboard of Penvenan rose sharp 
against the paling sky. Everything was bathed in a 
delicious calm. Even the swell rolled landward in great, 
slow, peaceful waves, so that the motion of the boat was 
scarcely perceptible, and had it not been for the rocks that 
flew past like a procession of silent shadows hurrying out to 
sea, we might have fancied ourselves motionless, anchored 
there in the midst of a fairy enchantment.' 

This is the scene upon which one gazes from the window 
of the study at Port Blanc, the scene facing which Anatole 
le Braz has written Pdques dJIslande, Le Sang de la Sir^ne, 
and Le Gardien du Feu. 

The house is a series of three little cottages, each forming, 
on the ground floor, a single room, and whether one is 
sitting at the supper-table, with its pretty red and white- 
checked cloth, its great tureen of steaming soup, its circle of 
merry, lamp-lit faces, or reading in the quiet study with book- 
lined walls, and vast cavernous hearth, one is always in pre- 
sence of the sea. Not the sea of our Saxon shores, but the 
wild * Ar Mor ' that greeted and inspired the earliest of our 
Celtic ancestors after their long journey toward the land of 
the setting sun. 

In the morning the world is sapphire, pink, and emerald, 


the vivid tints of rock and sea softened with pearly mist, like 
one of the shells one finds on the beach ; later it clears and 
warms into golden brown and blue ; and at evening purple 
shadows creep over the scene, flooding it with all manner 
of opalescent colours, till they also pass giving place to a 
growing radiance, and soon the whole bay is full of glancing 

The first original work of le Braz of which we have 
a record is a poem, a story in verse, called Tryphina 
Keranglaz, which will be dealt with at some length, for it is 
extremely interesting as a type of Celtic literature. It was 
written while Anatole le Braz was living at Quimper, and is 
a story of revolt and reconciliation, revolt against destiny, 
and reconciliation brought about by death. 

This reconciliation through death seems a very distinct 
note in most of the writings of this author, and is worthy of 
consideration, as coming from one whose forefathers acknow- 
ledged Death as their common ancestor. The story, if story 
it may be called, has for its hero a young student, Yvo 
Congard, the eldest son of a well-to-do widow, Anna Renee, 
who, like almost all Breton mothers, wishes her son to become 
a priest. With this intention he is sent to study at the 
seminary, returning each summer vacation to live the 
ordinary life of the farm, reaping, haymaking, tending the 
cows and horses. 

beloved summer season, 

Golden evening dusky fair, 

Subtle, fragrant breath of flowers 

Mingling with my very prayer. 

While within my cell I 'm watching, 
June's sweet song comes back to me 
Like a bird's wing, softly fanning 
All my soul to ecstasy. 

As the autumn evenings draw in, that notable housewife, his 
mother, of whom we are told : — 

The widow managed the farm, the farm with its fields and flocks . . . 

used to gather the girls of the neighbourhood around the fire 


to spin ; and with them came the motherless daughter of the 
farmer of Keranglaz, Tryphina. The scene is thus de- 
scribed : — 

Before the yellow glow 
The spinners gather round, 
While at the pleasant sound 
The shepherd's head bends low. 

It is at one of these evening gatherings that the young 
man's revolt against his mother's plans first breaks forth. 

' My eyes are full of tears. 
Speak to the wheels, and say 
I cannot read or pray, 
So sweet their sound appears ' 

And his mother replies : — 

' O maidens, hush your song, 
And turn the wheels more slowly, 
While silently along 
Above the spinning throng 
Hover my son's thoughts holy.' 

But again he breaks forth : — 

' What is this fragrance sweet 

Filling the summer air ? 

Is it some perfume rare. 

Or sweet breath of my sweet ?' 

' Is the door fast within *? . . . 

asks the mother, and the girls answer : — 

' The door is bolted fast. 
Nothing hath surely past 
Since we sat down to spin.' 

But as the Spirit of the Hearth observes : — 

* Who can tell through what crannies 
Sweet perfumes may dart, 
Even so the beloved 
Steals into the heart.' 


And now indeed comes the full storm of revolt : — 

' Away my books, away ! 
I cannot pray, mother ! 
I love my love more true 
Than heaven or you, mother ! ' 

For it is Tryphina he loves, Tryphina and all that she 
signifies to him of home, and sweet, domestic peace. 

He tells us so in a little song of exquisite beauty, which 
yet has a suggestion of the priest about the form of the 

' Oremus ! Oremus ! . . Tryphine 
In her cupboard bed lies sleeping. 

While her golden ringlets twine. 
And the long, soft waves are creeping 

O'er the pearl of her bosom fine. 

Oh, would that I knelt beside her. 
To pray that no ill betide her ! ' 

' " Be a priest of the Church, my son," 
Sighs the mother, while I, alas. 

Have no thought in life save one. 
By the window of Keranglaz 

To sing my love alone. 

For my heart hath no other pleasure 
Than to sing of Tryphine my treasure.' 

But Tryphina, with whom ' in the spring he tossed the 
hay . . .' Tryphina is driven from Anna Congard's house, 
and Yvo returns to college determined to marry her. 

But the mother is as inexorable as fate. Indeed through- 
out the poem she is fate to the two young people. 

Her lover having departed, Tryphina pines for a time, 
and then goes secretly to the magic pool to inquire whether 
she or the mother is to have her way. 

O'er the pool of Keranglaz when night clouds the sky 
A breath of the future comes whispering by. 
As the wind stirs the rushes to murmuring sleep. 
The purpose of God may be read in the deep. 
VOL. v. O 


Her pin she drew from out her shawl, 
Then sighing forth an ancient charm, 
Over the water stretched an arm, 
And from her fingers let it fall. 

From the Breton high heavens the stars bend and pale 
White meadow mists watching have lifted their vail, 
All nature seems pausing in wondering dismay 
To know what the pool of Ker^nglaz will say. 

The mystic water gives reply 

Love shall not play a conquering part. 

For like a dagger in the heart 

So sinks the pin of destiny. 

Of the pathetic little letter she sends her lover, and of her 
death, I need not speak, save to say how very beautiful and 
tender this part of the poem is, and how singularly it fore- 
shadows both in style and feeling the later works that were 
to flow from the pen of this gifted writer. The funeral with 
the song of the beggar women, and the description of the 
wake, so well epitomises the attitude of the Celtic mind 
toward death that it will be better to quote it : — 

Weep not thou for whom all weep. 

Life is sweeter where thou art, 

Sorrow here fills every heart, 
Happiest those who soonest sleep, 
Weep not thou for whom all weep. 

Gather'd in thine early hour, 

Never will the wintry wind 
Fade thy beauty like a flower. 
Whirl thee as a wither'd flower. 

Scatter thee with breath unkind. 

Every purpose pure and good. 

Now the chains of earth are riven, 

All thy little sins forgiven. 
In unblemished maidenhood 

On thy white wings soar to heaven. 

And all the time the mother like a veritable fate sits 
spinning by her fireside, spinning the alb which her son 
is to wear when he says his first Mass. Even when all seems 


lost, when Yvo is most bitterly bewailing his dead love, Anna 
Congard calmly continues her preparations. 

* A priest, O my Lord, or death ! ' she has prayed, kneel- 
ing before her crucifix. Such implacable determination is 
sure to attain its end; Yvo has not died, therefore as she sits 
at her wheel she spins with confidence, knowing that her wish 
will be accomplished. Her son may rebel — he has rebelled ; 
but her will, fortified as it is by a fanatical faith, is irresistible, 
and all his objections will give way before it. 

* Nothing can resist the will of man,' says an old 
French writer, ' when he knows what is true and wills what 
is good.' 

There is no doubt that the mother honestly believes she 
is acting for the good of her son, and her will triumphs, but 
not until the dead girl returns and joins her voice to that of 
the mother. 

A wind of emotion rose, and pierced to my very soul, 

For some one was walking alone through the secret chambers of thought, 

Some one with sweet, white face, and gliding, timorous feet, 

Holding a branch of gorse a-flower though it was dead. 

And it was She who came, fanning my soul with her wing, 
Fanning her soul with her wing, till I heard a plaintive song, 
A whispering, distant song, that seemed to breathe from her lips, 
The Music of Far Away, and this is the song she sang: — 

Remember, love, hearts of the dead 
Return to thee from out the tomb, 
In gold of the genesta bloom. 
In blood that dyes the roses red. 

A blood-red rose is clambering free 
Over a grey, old garden wall ; 
Gather one crimson rosebud small. 
And as you do so think of me. 

Breathe often of that fragrance rare, 
Above all in thine hours of grief. 
The very scent will bring relief, 
It is my rose heart that you wear. 


And now, beloved one, arise, 
The world lies weeping at thy feet ; 
Many the souls gentle and sweet 
Thou shalt lead on to Paradise. 

It is his love herself come back from the tomb who finally 
brings about reconciliation with the destiny he has spurned. 
The story is a simple one, such as has been told over and over 
again, and were there nothing but the story there would be 
little in Tryphina Keranglaz to attract our attention, save 
the beautiful language in which it is told. But there is 
much more. Yvo, the mother, Tryphina herself, even the 
beggar women, and the laughing, careless girls, each represent 
some element in this Celtic study of destiny. It is as though 
the author had written a treatise on the subject of love versus 
fate, in some picture language, using as his hieroglyphics the 
figures of the peasants concerned in this little episode. For 
besides its obvious meaning, the story has a profound signifi- 
cance, and every character and incident is symbolical of a 
deep, underlying truth. 

Tryphina Keranglaz was shortly followed by La Chanson 
de la Bretagne, a volume of verses which spread the fan^e of 
the author all over France, and was crowned by the Academy. 
I give one poem as specially illustrative of the peculiarly 
Celtic imagination of the author : — 


The Stormy Wind is at my door, 
I hear his mournful voice implore : — 
' Oh, let me in in God's great name ! 
I see the shining of your flame ! 
It was to warm myself I came.' 

' Open the door ! Annik,' said I, 
' And bid the Storm Wind hither fly ! ' 
So the poor Wind had his desire. 
And with a gentle sigh came nigh'r 
To settle down beside my fire. 


Then up into the chimney wide, 
The flames went leaping in their pride. 
* Welcome ! ' cried they, ' welcome to thee. 
Welcome, poor wand'rer of the sea ! ' 
For flames in winter speak, you see ! 

Seated before my warm hearthstone, 
Answered the wind in gentle tone . . . 
' O fiery tongues, all men adore. 
Lick ye the hands and feet once more 
Of the poor wand'rer of the shore ! ' 

And at the good flame's living kiss 
The Wind turned warm with sudden bliss, 
Yes, warm once more the poor Wind grew. 
The wand'ring Wind that flew and flew, 
And was so thin the flame shone through ! 

He told me all his history, 
Bemoaned his bitter purgat'ry ! 
Father nor mother had he known, 
Nor whence his naked feet were blown, 
Nor why to my door he had flown. 

A soul indeed hath the Storm Wind, 
A deep-voiced soul of many a kind. 
Through boundless space it murmurs long. 
Of the green corn it is the song, 
Yet is the roar of ocean strong. 

The Wind it is who sows the grain, 
Hollows the deep wave of the main. 
He sings and shouts with all his might, 
Deaf is he, and bereft of sight, 
Bringer of day and endless night. 

Then came a book of stories, studies of Breton life, Vieilles 
Histoires du Pays Breton, in which there are some very 
dramatic incidents, notably *La Charlezenn,' ' Histoire Pas- 
cale,' ' Noel de Chouans,' ' Le Batard du Koi,' from which it 
is impossible to quote, but which were cited by the late 
Fiona Macleod as some of the finest writing in the French 


This little volume was followed in 1902 hy La Legende de 
la Mort. It would be interesting to speak at length of this 
truly remarkable book which, as a well-known Oxford pro- 
fessor said to me, is the work by which Anatole le Braz is 
known to the world of letters. The labour expended upon it 
was enormous, for every detail and legend was collected first- 
hand ; and after the collection was made, the mass of material 
had to be sorted, verified, and carefully arranged before the 
Master Architect could employ it to raise once more the 
fabric of the ancient forgotten cult which for two thousand 
years had been overgrown by the forms of Christianity. 

Pdques d'lslande succeeded La Legende de la Mort, a set 
of five beautiful studies largely concerned with the close 
connection which exists in the Celtic mind between this life 
and that which follows. 

Then in quick succession appeared Le Sang de la Sirene, 
La Terre du Passe, a collection of impressions, Au Pays des 
Pardons, which has lately made a very successful appearance 
in English, passing through several large editions, Le Theatre 
Celtique, another of those extraordinary books which, like La 
Legende de la Mort, shows how absolutely this author has the 
problem of the Celtic race ; and, lastly, a work to which it seems 
to me the others have but paved the way, Le Gardien du Feu. 

Strictly speaking, Le Gardien du Eeu, so far the only 
complete novel from the pen of this writer, is not the latest of 
his publications. It followed Pdques d'Islande, and preceded 
Le Sang de la Sirene, La Terre du Passe, and Le Theatre 
Celtique. But as a work of imagination it is undoubtedly, up 
to the present time, the climax of Anatole le Braz s writings. 
It is difficult to say when the idea of this extraordinary book 
first occurred to him. His works are often planned for years 
before he finds an opportunity for writing them, and surely, 
in date of conception, all his other works preceded this. To 
write such a book he must have probed the very soul of the 
two races of which it treats. It is much more than a novel ; 
it is a marvellous allegorical presentment of the irreconcilable 
natures of the Celtic races of Leon and Tregor. 



Directly one begins to study attentively the inhabitants of 
Brittany, one is struck by a strange diversity of race, which 
distinguishes them, not only from the people of the rest of 
France, but even from one another. E,enan speaks of this in 
his Poetry of the Celtic Races, 

' Every one who travels through the Armorican peninsula, 
experiences a change of the most abrupt description, as soon as 
he leaves behind that district which most closely borders upon 
France, where the cheerful but commonplace type of face of 
Normandy and Maine is continually in evidence, and passes 
into the true Brittany, that part which merits its name by 
language and race. A cold wind arises full of a vague sadness, 
carrying the soul to other thoughts ; the tree-tops are bare 
and twisted ; the heath with its monotony of tint stretches 
away into the distance ; at every step the granite protrudes 
from a soil too scanty to cover it ; a sea that is almost always 
sombre girdles the horizon with continual moaning. The 
same contrast is manifest in the people : to Norman vulgarity, 
to a plump and prosperous population, happy to live, full of its 
own interests, egotistical, as are all those who make a habit of 
enjoyment, succeeds a timid and reserved race, living altogether 
within itself, heavy in appearance, but capable of profound 
feeling, and of an adorable delicacy in its religious instincts. 
... It seems like entering upon the subterranean strata of 
another world, and in some measure one experiences the 
emotions given us by Dante, when he leads us from one circle 
of his Inferno to another. . . .' 

But that is not all. Renan refers to Dante, and we may 
perhaps be permitted to carry on the simile. 

In this strange, romantic Inferno, this mystical twilight 
realm of poetry and legend, this backwater of civilisation, 
there are several great divisions, Cornouailles, Vannes, 
Domnone, Leon. They are the circles in which dwell the 
races which people Brittany ; and in passing from one to 
another of these, the contrast is scarcely less marked than 
that which strikes the traveller when first he sets foot in 
the peninsula itself. Brittany, the true Armorica, is the 



country lying west of a line drawn from Saint Brieuc to 
Vannes. In this small area are planted tribes as distinct in 
character, speech, and customs as though they were separated 
by the English Channel instead of the small streams that 
actually divide them. 

These races have preserved many marked characteristics 
from the time when, in the fifth and sixth centuries, their 
ancestors emigrated from Great Britain to Armorica. They 
were separate tribes here, and when they fled oversea at the 
coming of the Saxons, they settled in isolated communities 
which, much as they have grown in size and population, 
have remained distinct from one another. They constitute 
the Circles of Kenan's Inferno. Like Dante, the traveller 
may pass from one to another and survey them all, but the 
inhabitants rarely do so. Where it is their fate to be born, 
there as a rule they live, wed, die, and are buried, and if by 
chance a man should stray out of his own sphere, he is 
rebelling against his destiny, and will surely suffer in 

Goulven Denes, the gardien du feu, or lighthouse-keeper, 
is a true typical Leonard, a son of that austere race with 
whom ' religion is the supreme need and consideration.' 

For example the hero tells us : — 

' My childhood was serious and rather gloomy. There are 
no songs in L^on, no dances, none of those diversions which 
lighten life. All I remember of the past is a sound of 
prayers, and of bells ringing for service. A Leon family 
considers itself disgraced for ever if it cannot count a 
priest among its members. I myself was brought up for 

^ While travelling in the Southern Morbihan last autumn I came across one of 
these exiles. He was a man of Lannion who had strayed south and married a 
Morbihan woman. He told me the most extraordinary stories of his wife and her 
relations, all of which he evidently believed. The whole place, according to him, 
was haunted ; the inhabitants were leagued together in all sorts of evil designs 
against him ; everything was diflFerent to what it was round Lannion ; even the 
language he could only speak imperfectly. I have not heard of the man since, but 
I am certain that when I go that way again I shall find that he is out of his mind, or 
the centre of some tragedy. 


the priesthood, and when I was twelve years old entered the 
seminary at Saint Pol de Leon.' 

And again : — 

*I had never been much of a talker. As a child I 
remember that I would often remain whole days without 
uttering a word, except to repeat my prayers morning and 
evening. Speaking was always painful to me, for the sound 
of my own voice gave me an uneasy feeling. At college it 
was just the same, no one could get a word out of me, 
which I think was partly the reason that my professors found 
me so foolish.' 

Thus far for the Leonard's opinion of himself Now hear 
what the Tregorroise heroine, Ad^le, says concerning him : — 

' You dance like a bear at a fair,' said she spitefully. 
* Well, so much the worse for you ! You will have to do as 
the old men do : sit and look on at the others.' 

And further : — 

' It is easy to see that you were brought up for the 
priesthood in a land where young girls think they will go to 
hell if they sing anything beyond the Mass. You speak even 
of love as though you were preaching. I believe at bottom 
you are not quite sure that marriage is not a sin. Now 
come, tell me honestly, you look on me as almost a creature 
of perdition, don't you ? ' 

Then again : — 

* Why do you look at me with your mournful eyes ? ' said 
she. *You have the same sad look as the black sheep of 
your country when they are being led away to the butchers.' 

As for the Tregorroise, Goulven says : — 

* The rays from her eyes benumbed my spirit, making me 
giddy as with long gazing at the sparkling of sunlight on 
the sea. I ceased to belong to myself; I was her thing. At 
our marriage Mass I was able to judge of the extent to 
which she possessed me. It was in vain I attempted to 
pray, I no longer knew how ; I was like one of those 
drunkards who begin their songs over and over again at the 


same line, and after thirty attempts are no nearer the end 
than they were at the beginning. . . . 

' You girls of Treguier/ said I to her one day, ' must have 
had fairies for grandmothers, they have left you their magic 
secrets. The women of my country only know how to pray 
and spin wool. You and your fellows are weavers of lovely 
dreams. You must find me very stupid compared with the 
young men who wanted to marry you before you became 
mine. For indeed I am the son of a heavy, lumbering people, 
who live shut up in a narrow circle. Yet you would be 
wrong to despise me, for we Leonards have our good qualities. 
If we are not light of spirit, we are constant under every trial. 
When once we have given ourselves we cannot take ourselves 
back again, for we love with a love that is strong as death.' 

I could multiply examples, but I think that the extracts 
I have given will suffice to explain the opposite natures of 
the two races. To attempt to unite two such dispositions 
in marriage necessitates a revolt against all the principles 
underlying the temperament of each. How can the stern 
religious purity of the Leonard brook the gay, light pleasure- 
loving nature of the Tregorroise ? For, having failed to enter 
the Church, Goulven takes to the sea, and during a short 
stay at the port of Treguier sees Adele Lezurec, and falls 
violently in love with her. 

' I watched her in an ecstasy, as I stood still and speech- 
less in the middle of the room. But within me the old 
savage blood that still courses in the veins of the men of 
Leon, and which I inherit from my ancestors, began boiling 
furiously. This woman, of whose very existence the evening 
before I was ignorant, I now wanted to seize, to clasp in my 
arms, to carry away as my prey ..." 

For it is not with his soul that Goulven loves her ; it is 
rather passion, infatuation, bewitchment, than love such as a 
Leonard should feel for his wife. 

* You will recognise the girl worthy of being wed,' says a 
well-known Leon proverb, ' by the fact that she only inspires 
you with pure, chaste thoughts.' 



Fate, or as he would have called it, the tradition of his 
race, had decreed that he should become a priest, or if not a 
priest, that he should at least marry a woman of his own race 
and cult, sharing his feelings, actuated by the same motives, 
striving after the same ideals. 

* You are taking a wife from outside your own race/ says 
Goulven's mother, 'may you never have cause to repent.' 

But Goulven Denes marries this stranger woman, and 
thereby rebels against all his most sacred traditions. These 
traditions were no doubt narrow and arbitrary, but they were 
so ancient and so universally observed, that they had grown 
into a kind of fetish, the rebellion against which was almost 
sure to bring suffering on the transgressor. 

Besides, Goulven Denes was not the kind of man to do 
things by halves. Fidelity to his Church, fidelity to his 
parents (a still older cult), fidelity to his own deep, natural 
instincts, all are abandoned, even forgotten. It is the old 
universal revolt of matter against spirit, body against soul, 
outward attractions and temptation against inward persuasion, 
the world against God. 

For a time indeed, all seems to go smoothly between 

' It would be difficult to conceive of our happiness in 
these charming nests,' says the hero. ' We lived there, Adele 
and I, side by side, never apart. Even the nights when I 
was on duty she would pass with me in the lantern. . . .' 

For two or three years they live so, he forgetful of every- 
thing save his adoration, his infatuation, his enchantment, 
forgetful of his prayers, his home, even his mother. 'I had 
become so indifferent even to my own mother,' he says, * that 
her absence caused me no sorrow.' 

But fate has not forgotten him. From the very first 
one can feel her fingers hovering over him, preparing to 
grasp him in an inexorable clutch, and it is out of his very 
passion that his sorrow comes. 

He is appointed to the chief post at the lighthouse, 
Gorlebella, that rises from a tiny rock in the midst of the sea 


between the Pointe du Raz and the gloomy lie de Sein. It 
is the most desolate district of all Brittany, the wildest and 
most forbidding. The ancients called it the end of the 
world, and with its vast, towering, granite cliffs, and murder- 
ous currents, with its legends of lost souls, its Bay of the 
Dead, its tempests and solitude, it is indeed a place of horror 
and desolation. You will still find fishermen living at the 
Pointe who say that they are called from their beds at night 
to ferry souls over the water to the mysterious lie de Sein ; 
and all the world may stand and wonder at the Hell of Plou- 
goif, where the souls of wicked Druids wail and shriek amid 
the waves and darkness. 

The duties of the lighthouse-keeper of Gorlebella necessi- 
tate that he should remain a month at a time on duty, after 
which he passes two weeks on shore with his wife and 

It was an unhoped-for advancement for Goulven, yet as 
he says : — 

* It caused me more pain than pleasure. Farewell to the 
perfect life, the work and rest in common, the dear t6te-a- 
tdte evenings spent in the lantern. For the future I should 
be but a casual guest beneath the roof of my wife. For a 
fortnight of her company there would be a month of separa- 
tion. For two-thirds of the year I should be away from her, 
the prisoner of the ocean, my spirit perpetually haunted by 
Adele's image.' 

He is on the point of refusing the advancement, but to 
his surprise finds that Ad^le wishes to go. She is her 
father's child ; the restless temperament of the sailor, and 
his longing for adventure, dwell in her blood ; and they go. 
The result is inevitable. She finds the solitude unbearable, 
as indeed does he. But while he consoles himself with a 
furore of work, she tries to tempt him to break the rules of 
his position by having her with him at the lighthouse. 
Against this, however, he is firm, and I take that as the first 
faint promise of his strange reconciliation with fate, for it is 
then that his original nature begins once more to assert 


itself, his stern Leonard nature, which seemed almost to have 
disappeared beneath the sunshine of the gay years that have 
passed since his marriage, but which now crops up again in 
adversity. Not even for the wife whom he so passionately 
adores can he betray his trust. Before, it was not so ; all 
went, even duty. But now, like the Prodigal, recalled to 
himself by sorrow, the instincts of his race once more awake, 
and he triumphs over temptation. 

But he suffers ; ah, how he suffers 1 Even his returns to 
Ad^le bring him no relief 

' I had no sooner recovered her,' says he, ' than the 
thought that I must leave her again passed over my joy like 
the shadow of a hailstorm across a field of ripe corn.' 

And this distress of mind, instead of bringing the pair 
nearer together, so accentuates the race peculiarities of the 
Leonard that Ad^le loses whatever little affection she had 
for him, and begins to fear him. 

* It is as I have been told,' says she, ' there is no middle 
course with you Leonards. Sometimes you are meek as 
sheep, and sometimes savage as brutes.' 

I need not follow the story through all its details. There 
is a vain attempt to move to a more congenial station, a 
journey to Quimper. . . . Then comes a visit of Adele to her 
native town Treguier, from whence she writes asking her 
husband to use his influence to get a certain young man of 
her own country appointed as assistant at the lighthouse. 

From that time events hurry on to the catastrophe. 
Every one, even Goulven himself, is fascinated with Adele s 
friend and countryman. He has the same charm of manner 
that makes the young wife so captivating. The home is more 
cheerful after his arrival, and Ad^le seems brighter and 

Then comes the strange episode of the magic Sou, with its 
presage of death to one whom Goulven loves, and his idea 
that the warning may apply to his mother whom he has not 
seen or written to for five years. This is his first real return 
to himself 


* I have sinned towards her ; I shall hear of her death 
before I am able to tell her of my repentance/ he cries. 

For it is not simply his mother towards whom his soul 
turns at the thought, but all that his mother typifies, his 
home, his race, his religion, even his destiny. 

But at the thought that it may be Adele's death which is 
coming he wavers. * Anything, Lord God, but not she ! In 
the name of the Five Wounds of Christ, not she ! ' 

It is while he is in this mood of half- awakened memories 
of home, yet still bewitched by thoughts of Adele's beauty, 
that he hears through a neighbour of his wife's unfaithfulness, 
of her liaison with her young countryman Louarn. Goulven 
learns that for a whole year she has been living in sin, de- 
ceiving him by her very caresses. 

In a moment comes the revulsion, the enchantment that 
has held him for five years is over, his rebellion against the 
stern tradition of Leon is at an end. But the hatred that 
fills his soul as soon as he is convinced that the charge is true 
is not the simple hatred of a jealous husband who has been 
deceived and betrayed. What is here described is something 
more than human passion, something vaster, more sava^ge 
and awful. It is the outbreak of an elemental force which 
terrifies even in the reading, for it is the retribution of the 
whole Leon race avenging itself for the outrage offered to its 

From that moment Goulven becomes the savage priest of 
some forgotten cult, relentless and calm, offering the two 
sinners and himself as an expiatory sacrifice to that offended 
deity, his racial tradition. His hatred and loathing of the 
guilty pair are aroused not so much by the injury done to 
himself as by the affront to all that he holds sacred and pure. 
This is shown in many places. There is his disgust at Adele's 
touch. * I scarcely waited to be outside the door before 
wiping off her unclean kiss with the back of my hand.' And 
again : * I wanted to purify my lungs with the fresh night 
air.' He cannot make up his mind to defile his mother's 
house with this sin and trouble. 


What follows is not murder and suicide : it is inexorable 
justice, and self-devotion. There are few things in modern 
literature so awful and majestic as the climax of this tragedy. 
Having made up his mind, or rather having realised the 
absolute necessity for the expiation, there comes to him * a 
kind of heroic exaltation, the pride of a man who, not only is 
no longer the plaything of circumstance, but on the contrary 
holds events in his own power.' 

His temporary infatuation having come to a end with all 
its unreal softness, his wild, savage instinct returns and 
prompts the particular ritual of the ' sacrifice.' 

The strict performance of his duty as lighthouse-keeper is 
his highest ideal of conduct, the one thing to which he has 
kept perfectly faithful. To him the lighthouse seems a god- 
dess of purity, and stern, uncompromising righteousness, a 
divinity whom he has never ceased to serve even when most 
sorely tempted by his syren wife. 

* Greetings to thee I ' he cries in a burst of wild enthusiasm, 
* Greetings to thee, O night Emerald of the Sea ! Incorruptible 
Guardian of the Sacred Flame, living image of Vesta ! Thou 
knowest that I have served thee faithfully. Among all the 
men who follow thy cult, not one has given thee stronger 
proofs of constancy and fidelity.' 

Feeling thus, it is but natural that he should employ the 
very lighthouse itself whom he worships with such passionate 
fervour as the instrument of his vengeance. It calls to mind 
that huge figure of Zeus, in whose hands were placed the 
infants devoted for sacrifice, the hands that sloped down- 
ward and let the children fall into a pit of fire that lay 
ready at the feet of the image. The lighthouse became the 
emblem of his ideal, and the table of sacrifice, the god, and 
the altar. 

With the long, horrible scene which follows : the prepara- 
tion of the room that is to be the death-chamber and tomb of 
the woman and her lover ; the fortnight's waiting after he 
has locked them in together ; the cries for help ; and the 
gradual realisation that the deed is accomplished, with all 


this we need not concern ourselves, save to point out how 
entirely all is in harmony with the peculiar attitude of mind 
of the Leonard. 

His resolution never wavers, but lest it should, he takes 
the precaution of throwing the key of the room in which he 
has locked them to starve together from the top of the 
lighthouse, whence he afterwards throws himself. 

Yet even in death he is faithful to his duty. 

' I have filled the lamp with oil, and given her a new 
wick,' he writes. ' She is a faithful and steady watcher ; I 
feel certain that she will burn till she is extinguished by 
whoever takes my place. For the rest, all my affairs are in 
perfect order. . . . ' 

I have only been able to give a very brief and imperfect 
analysis of this book. A modern French critic writing of it 
a short time ago compared it to a play of iEschylus, and 
indeed, in power and depth of significance it takes us back 
to the works of the great Greek dramatists. 

It is natural that this should be so. Anatole le Braz is a 
passionate admirer of Greek literature, besides being a learned 
Celt and a poet. His works, especially the works we have 
been considering, have those particular characteristics which 
mark them as classic. 

His stories are Breton, but the story is the mere husk, and 
the kernel, the underlying meaning, the emotion, the signi- 
fication, the atmosphere, all these are as universal, as 
eternal as in the works of Shakespeare or JEschylus. Such 
writing does not become old-fashioned or out of date, like 
other novels that ' have their day, and cease to be.* It 
lives on because its beauty is of that eternal kind that is 
founded upon absolute, unerring truthfulness. And when 
Brittany has ceased to exist save as an ordinary province of 
France, overrun and desecrated by the crowds of tourists who 
are already spoiling her shy charms, these books of Anatole 
le Braz will live as gems in that splendid crown of Celtic 
literature which is as much the pride of the modern civilised 
world as Greek literature was of the ancient. 



Professor Mackinnon 

IV. Poems hitherto unpublished. 

(Continued from vol. v. p. 116) 

Here follows (pp. 160-4) the poem already printed, 'A 
Thearlaich mhic Sheumais ' {v. supra, vol. iv. p. 295). Then 
comes (pp. 164-7) the following, the Bard again attacking 
the Hanoverian poetess of Oban : — 

'S ball beag mWiaghailteach, lag, laidir, 

An teanga ghnath 'na c6mliradh ; 

Ged thog Dia p^irc phalisads di, 

Dh' fhior-chruaidh chnkimh 's de flie6il uimp' ; 

Leum i 'n garadh a rinn nadur, 

Bha cho ard 's bu chdir dha ; 

'S chaidh i 'n fh^sach le cead Sbatain, 

'S dh' ith i 'n s^(th) gun 6rdan. 

'S ann uime th^ mi, gur a laidir 

Buaireadh b^ na fe6Ia, 

Dh' aona bhan-Gh^idheal riamh a thMnig, 

D' am bu phhrent N6tair : 

Biodh a beachd cho ard ri ban-righ'n, 

'S biodh a t^mh 's an Oban, — 

A sp4in a sh^thadh anns a' chal ud, 

A dhiult each dad 61 deth. 

Ghabh thu leasan bho d' sheana-mhathair, 

A bhan-daoi'ear dh6lach, 

Bointe dh' aona chraoibh sheunta gh^raidh 

'S dbhlan ch^ich a sh6radh ; 

'S ged bha 'n nathair an robh S^tan 

Gu gniomh baird 'g ad sprdideadh, 

B' ainneamh ann am Breatunn Adhamh 

Dh' itheadh pairt de d' ch6-roinn. 

Na'n tairgteadh dhuitse a bhid bhanndachd, 
Chionn am Prionnsa chaineadh, 
Mar gheall Lucifer le lubaibh, 
Dh' Eo cuirt a b'^irde ; 
VOL. V. . P 


Bu sgaoileadh lethsgeil a' chilis sin, 
Ge bu ditimb is nMr' e ; 
Ach gun duais ach lom an du-bhrac,^ 
Pac bhrtiid Bbockrna ! 

Thairg thu do sheirbhis do'n deamhan, 

Gun dad cumha iarraidh, 

Gun airgiod inndrig, a nasgaidh 

Liost thu steach gu biastail : 

Na'n geallte' dhuit bhi uil-f hiosrach, 

'S Ian de ghibhtean diadhaidh, — 

Rinn thu tuilleadh na rinn ise, 

Thilg thu . . . fo'n diabhul. 

Le fallsanachd mhilis arsaidh 

'N aingil ^luinn uaibhrich, 

Gu meas itheadh rinn e claradh, 

Nach biodh bas an duais di ; 

Eolas matha 's uilc gu fasadh 

'N a glan nadur buadhach ; 

'S gu'n togadh feartan a' chroinn ghr^'oir, 

Ise 's Adhamh suas leis. 

Cha deachaidh Mamon ann a dhresibh, 

Gu cur brat air duaichneachd ; 

'N a sheann riochdaibh f ein 's 'na chleachdadh 

Chaidh e steach gu d' thuairgneadh : 

Ach rinn Eo rud beag cothaich, 

Mu'n do ghabh i buaireadh, 

Ged chuir uime bhruid bu cheutaich', 

Bha measg bheist 's an uair sin. 

Bha'm buaireadh a bhuair ise laidir, 
Agus Adhamh bhuaithe, 
A fear a chuideachadh a faillinn, 
'S na chuir nMur cruaidh-chuis ; 
Am fallsanach briathrach dana, 
Sgoilear ard 's a' chluaineachd, 
Deasbud air a h-aodann n^rach, 
Gus na th^rr e buaidh oirr'. 

Cha'n ann lethsgeulach ata mi 
Air a ch^raid thruaigh-sa, 
Striochdadh do rhetoric Sh^tain 
Choisinn b^s is uaigh dhuinn : 

* The sweepings of the dirty broken wool (brae) of Muckairn. 


Ach b'e do dhuais an d^is do bheisteadh,^ 
'Nuair rinn Mmon truai(lleadh), 
Paidhir ch4rd is cuinneag dheasgainn, 
Thug Stroneasgair bhuainne.^ 

Nach sumain thu do chiall 's do n^ire 

Dh' ionnsuidh Icir do choinnseas % 

'S na toir breitheamhnas leth-ph^ir teach, 

'S tilg fo d' sh^il do phuinnsean : 

Bheir do choguis sentens irk ort, 

Goirt mar sh^thadh cuinnseir ; 

Mar theaiiachair gobhann 'g ad fh^sgadh, 

Chionn gu'n ch^in thu 'm Prionnsa. 

Nach eil n^ire mh6r ort f ein, 

'S do choguis geur 'g ad sgr6badh, 

Na 's fheudar dhuit itheadh bhreugaibh, 

Nach cn^mh tr^'as do sgr6bain 1 

Fileachan cho laidir eifeachd, — 

Slugadh treun-each cbids^ iad j 

An donas diog a bhios 's a' bh^ist, 

Mu'm beir l^igh air fdirinn. 

Nach truagh a chinn sibh 'n 'ur t^rr nimhe, 

Seach gach fin' tha 'n Albainn ? 

Bh^ist 3 sibh na cairtean gu gionach, 

Le'r cam-iomairt chealgaich : 

'Nuair nach faod sibh bho'n bh^s pilleadh 

Chum 'ur cillean airgid, 

Bidh 'ur daoil a stigh 'g 'ur criomadh 

Mar gheur-bhioradh thairgnean. 

6u d^ ge gradhach leat do chairdean, 

Agus pd,rii Dheorsa ? 

B' iomchuidh' dhuit bhi baindidh faoilidh, 

'S f^dheam chur fo t' 6ran ; 

'S ged a th^rradh tu gun thalant 

De shearbh bh^rdachd e6lais, 

Cha bu ghlic dhuit prionnsa chaineadh, 

No teachd graineil 6irnne. 

1 V. supra, vol. v. p. 123, n. 4. 

2 Paradise Lost went even cheaper, relatively, but the contempt conveyed 
here is unmistakeable. A pair of wool-cards and a yeast-stoup, to say nothing of the 
fact that the articles were plundered Jacobite property, were but a sorry return for 
the services of the Hanoverian poetess. 

^ V. supra, vol. v. p. 123, n. 4. 


Nach d'rugadh Prionnsa Wales le (mh)athair 

An deicheamh 1^ de'n 6r-mhios ? 

S tha e 'n ainm Righ Breatuinn fathasd, 

Saor bho fhlaitheachd Dhe6rsa : 

Chaoidh cha leig e dheth a chathair, 

A chrtin no chlaidheamh m6rachd, 

Gus an sgathar cheann d'a amhaich, 

'S ni sin fathast d6ruinn. 

Nach bu chliutach e Righ Seumas, 

'S Diuc Mhodena ^ posda, 

An Righ sin Bhreatuinn agus Eireann, 

Leis an eucoir f hdgradh 'i 

Gur cho geal a bhreith 's a bheusan, 

'S com na grein' mu nona ; 

Ach 's nighean thusa 'n f hear d'an ^ighte', 

Donnchadh gU dhubh N6tair. 

A mhac Righ Seumas ri deagh Chlement, 

'N robh na beusan gl6irmhor, 

Thainig le ceart 6rdan cleire, 

Bho'n righ threun sin P61and ; 

Gach fuil as priseala na cheile, 

An Criosdachd fein na h-E6rpa, 

Thug iad coinneamh ghlan neo-bheudach, 

An corp an t-Serlus 6ig-sa. 

'S fhad ghabh sibh ceannach ludais, 

Chum am Prionnsa fhaotainn, 

A' cliathadh mara, choill, is aonach, — 

Gu'm bu chlaon an taom sid ; 

G16ir do'n Fhreasdal dhiadhaidh theasraig 

Esan air na beistibh, 

Dh' aindeoin burach nam muc treasgach, 

Nach 'eil seasg 's an treuson. 

Ach 's truagh a nis an duais a th' agaibh, 

'N d^is 'ur laigse rusgadh ; 

Ach na fhuair sibh phlundruinn mhaslaich, 

Bheir pl^igh, creach, is sgiurs' oirbh : 

Dh' aithn'eadh nach bu mhaith gu feachd sibh, 

Gu bl^r bras a dhdsgadh ; 

Failear sibh gun airm, gun bhreacain, 

'S bheir lagh Shasuinn ctiis dhiobh. 

^ James vii.'s queen was Mary of Modena. 


Tighinn chiiramach Phrionns' Tearlach, 

Ciallach, Mrrlann, c6maid,^ 

Gu robh urra mli6r gun fhaillinn, 

Teachd gun d^il gu'r c6rsa : 

'S iomadh facal seadhail t^bh'chdach : 

An cruaidh f Misdinn Th6mais, 

Bho'n f hidrichte' nach cuspair ^raidh 

Do bhana-bhard tigh-6sd' e. 

Ithidh tiine 's aimsir f hada 

Caisteil chlach is m6r-chroinn ; 

Theirig Cuimeanaich 's Dughlasaich, 

'S Csesair bhras na E6imhe ; 

Thuit sinn gu leir, gach fineach bhras, 

Sliochd Ghaidheil ghlais is Sc6ta, 

'S tionndaidh roth nan Guibhneach beachdaidh, 

'S cha chum beairteas be6 iad.^ 


The same subject is continued in even less worthy strain 
in the following composition (pp. 147-9) which is only 
quotable in part : — 

Gu d^ thug dhuit, a bhracaid shalach, 
Amaid nam ban thu, 
T6iseachadh ri 'r caineadh-ne, 
'S nach fearr thu f ein na 'n cii 1 
Traill nan traill gach trustair thu, 
Fior-sgudal amar mhuin ; 
Gun mhodh, gun eolas oileanach, 
A' teachd air righ no prionns'. 

Cha 'n urrainn thu 'g am ph^igheadh 
'S an ainbheach a bhios ort, 

^ The word is unknown to me. 

^ The idea, so eloquently expressed here, is old, and the poet may have come upon 
it elsewhere. Here is an Ulster version so similar that it suggests borrowing ; but 
who the borrower was it might be diflGicult to show : — 

' Do threasgair an t-eag 's do sheid an ghaoth mar smal 
Alasdruin, Caesar, 's a meid do bhi 'n a n-dail ; 
T6, an Teamhair 'n a fear, agus f^ach an Traoi mar ta. 
Is na Sasanaigh f^in gur bh-fheidir go bh-fuighidis bds.' 


'S a'n sean-f hacal ag r^itinn, 
Bian mh^rtain sgell (i) ri chorp : 
Sin 'nuair bhios mi pkighte 

Cha robh bean an Albainn 
A bheireadh dhasan beum, 
A dheanadh a ph ears' onarach 
A ch^ineadh ach a' bheist. 
Abair nach bu toigh leo e, 
No ghnothuch dhol gu f eum ; 
Chuireadh modh is eolas, 
Srian ri gl6ir am beil. 

'S e gn^'s nan galla gasraidh 
Bhi sgaiteach air an d6id ; 
Cuid eile de chonaibh ann 
Bhi comhartaich gun f heum ; 
An t^in a thig an bhuailidh 
'S i 'n te shuaraeh 's ^irde geum ; 
'S gach uisge mar as taine, 
'S e shruth as ^irde leum. 

Bha Cormaig maith gu taidhidearachd 

Roghainn nam ban 6g ; 

An te bhiodh bras mi-narach, 

Cha bu ni leis dol g'a c6ir ; 

'S an te bhiodh gleadhrach sgaiteach dhiubh, 

Is iolach ard 'na ceann, 

Gu'm b'fhearr leis a chrochadh 

'S ann de 'n t-seorsa ghlaganach ud, 

Racaid a' bheoil chaim, 

'Nuair th6isich i ri fineachas 

Le innisgean a teang' ; 

Ach bheir mi paigheadh ullamh dhuit, 

Bheir urram air gach cainnt, 

A thainig o'n chraos Latharnach, 

Braoisg labharra bheil mheang. 

'S iomadh aite robh do lionsgaradh, 

'S do dhilsean air do chiil, 

Ged rinn earrann mh6r do dhiobradh dhiubh, 

'N aghaidh f irinn agus cliii ; 


Cha ghleadhar galla (s)hadhaich, 
No cairn gun radharc sul', 
D'am bu dhleasdanach bhi eulach, 
Gu de do ch6ir-s' air crtin. 

Thu fein 's a' bheist an Aigeannach, 

An aon nasg caigneam teann. 

'S restim suas 'n 'ur blaide sin (?) 

Cluig ghlaganach 'ur teang' : 

Da phollaig-chuil nam marbh chuileag 


Ach gabhaidh mise cead diot, 

Car treis gu m'ioghnadh fein ; 

'S na creid gu bheil mi ullamh dhiot 

Gun tuilleadh chur ad dh6igh ; 

Ma chluinn mi gne de d'chomhartaich, 

No mhothartaich do bh^il, 

Cuiridh mise glomhar 

'S a' chraos dhomhain th' aig a' bheist. 


Here the *Ark' comes in the MS. (pp. 169-74), already 
prmted (v. supra, vol. iv. p. 297), after which are the 
following scathing verses (pp. 174-7) on the Campbells and 
their depredations in the forfeited estates of Clanranald : — 

Bha S(eumas) C(aimbeul) ^ 's an km. 

An robh an trioblaid ann, 

Gun teachd a ch6ir a naimhdean, 

Gus an d' fhuair e bristeadh orr; 

Leag e sin gu plunndruinn, 

Air spuinneadh nan cisteachan, 

O ! '& mairg nach deanadh bun rud ^ 

Mur diogh'l a shliochd-san air. 

1 The S. C. of the MS. might stand for Seoras CaimbeuL But M'Donald as a rule 
writes Deorsa not Seoras for George. Which James is here meant I know not. 
There were many of the name. The houses of Craignish, Asknish, Auchinbreck, and 
Aberuhill, among others, had each a James among them at this time. 

* biinnradhf ' confusion,' ' tumult,' ' row.' 


Bha luchd nan croisean dearga 

Gl^ stoirmeil car tiota bhig ; 

Bu mhaith gu spuinneadh bhalg iad, 

'S an t-armadh a hitidh (?) leo; 

lornachan an t-snatha 

'Gan caradh 'n an crioslaichibh j 

Bhiodh deasgainnean a' chaise 

Fo'n cairean 's a' bhriosgartaich. 

Bha binntean Ghlinne-Mhiiideart 
'N an cruban 'n 'ur sgiorplaichibh ; 
Gach d^irceach bha 's an duthaich, — 
Gu'n spuinneadh na criplichean ; 
Na doill a bha gun sdilean, — 
Gu'n sgrud sibh an ciotachan ; 
O ] 's cailleachagan gach duthcha, 
Ri tiiirse mu'n cisteagan. 

Tilgeam plochd no dh^ oirbh, 
Tha taireil mar sgibideig, 
Bho'n a fhuaradh faillinn 
'N'ur c^ileachd gun mhiosrachadh ; 
Gu'm bu choir 'ur fagail 
Mar gheard air probhision, 
'S cuig ciad slig' is spaineag 
Dh' 61 l^gain d ciotachaibh. 

Gun phiobaire no siunnsar 

Bu ghrunndail port-a'-mhiodair bhuaibh ; 

Cha bhiodh a chuairt ach cearbach, 

Mar bh^rr thogt' a miosraichibh : 

Bhiodh Dughall anus a' chiilaist, 

Gun duil ri gne iochda bhuaibh ; 

Ri creatraich air a ghluinibh 

Gun (f h)uirleach ^ gun spiocaid ann. 

Gu'n robh cogadh s6nruicht' 

De ch6mhrag mu bhinid ann, 

Eadar Seasar ComhuUach 

'S an r6is-bhior de bhior a bh'innte ; 

Tharr e bhean air sprdicean 

An ddchas a spioladh bhuaith' ; 

1 Fiiirleach was in some of the Southern Isles, perhaps also elsewhere, the name 
given to the skin-covering fastened on a milk-dish when being carried. In any other 
meaning the word is unknown to me. 


Thuit esan anns an 6traich, 

'S bha tli6n 's an dun-innearach. 

'S neonach sid mar fh^gail 
Gun chal arain ( 1) misneachail, 
Nach fearr dhuit fear am blar dhiubh 
Na clarsair, 's e ciotagach ; 
'S ged a fhuair iad fath oirnn 
Gu t^rrsuinn ar creiche bhuainn 
Le riadh gu'm bi sid paighte, 
'Cur lagain 'na sgiodar asta. 

'Nuair a thig Prionns' Tearlach, 
D' am b' abhaist bhi piseachail, 
Le Frangaichibh treun laidir, 
Gu brath nach meataicheadh ; 
'S iomadh fear tha 'n drasta 
Gle str^iceil f ior-neo-chiontach, 
Ris an dealaich pairt diubh, — 
Gu'n 4irmhinn dhiubh ficheadan. 

! cha b'iad luchd a chlaideadh, 
'S a chragradh na miosraichean, 
A bh' againn' ach fior Ghaidheil, — 
Na sar dhaoine sgiobalta ; 
Cabhain ghlas nan spardan, 
Bhiodh c^bain air ghiob aca ; 
An aparsaig na graisge, 
Bhiodh spail agus iteachain. 

'S iomadh bodach tarra-ghlas 
Gun nair' air bheag misniche, — 
Bu mhaith gu rurach charn iad, 
'S gach ait anns am b'f hiosrach iad, 
Am faighte balgain shnatha, 
Is caise gu mhion-sgapadh ; 
Bu mhaith gu ruathar chard iad, 
'S gu tarcadh nam measganan. 

Bha boladh agus faileadh, 
Cho laidir 's cho biorach aca, 
Ri miol-chu beinne fasaich, 
Gu lan-damh a shireachd as ; 
Cha bhiodh pris na spaine 
An aite fo'n ghrinneal-sa, 
Nach biodh am p6c' a' phrabair. 
Is c^il de na binidean. 




Ged a dheanadh Hili ^ 

'Ur f^sgadh chur bliochd asaibh, 

An deamhan drdb gu brkth, 

A th^irngte' dheagh shiltich bhuaibh ; 

A' mhathair-ghuir ged spairnicht' 

Le cr^dh as 'ur niosgaidibh ; 

Cha bhiodh ann ach f^ilinn, 

'S bog l^ib na droch mhisniche. 

A bhruthaisdich' a' bhr6is 

From Lorn tha droch mhiotailteach, 

Gu de do chuid-sa chdmhrag, 

Do n6s a bhi biotailteach ? 

Bu trie leat an dels n6na 

Bhi 'g 61 do chrump liteannach ; 

Dol rist gu d' shabhal e6rna, 

Le d' ch6ta 's le d' mhiotagan. 

Tha 'n goile-san oho cra'iteach 
Ki crain mhuic nan sitigean ; 
Cha robh sid ach nadarra, 
'S gur pairt d'a fior-shliochd a bh' ann 
'Nuair bhiodh iad Ian de gharbhan 
Bhiodh dairearach 'n am brigisean, 
! 's g^bhaidh nach do sg4in iad, 
'S nach gn^thach leo miosaran. 

'S goileachan chon fior-ghiar 
So-dhil'eadh na binidean ; 
Ach 's goirisneach ri innseadh, 
Mar mhill iad na sineachan, 
Ri doichleadh nan gabhar grisionn, 
Bha shios ann am Miongaraidh ; 
'S e sid a chuir an ighnean 
Bhi sgriobadh nam minneanan. 

E6sail iad an Siiina 

Sp6ld tir gun dad butair air, 

Le eanaraich dhonn a' chruisgein, 

Fior-uilleadh nan cudaigean ; 

Chaisg iad an toil bhriiideil 

O ! 's iad a bhios gu mdirneach, 
'S a' chiiirt a th'aig Lusifer. 

1 A well-known physician of the Middle Ages, frequently cited in the Gaelic 
Medical MSS. He died about 995. 


Mo ghr^dh-sa Tearlach Stiubhard 
Mac uiseil Eigh Breatuinn ; 
Cha b' ionann 's mac na siursaich, 
Ri buidsear a sgreataich sinn : 
Gu'm b'annsa learn 'nam phuidse, 
Do chuinneadh beag leth-chrunach, 
Na leth-ghini le dhurachd 
Bho'n bhruid tha neo-dhleasannach. 

Gu faca mi cuig r^isimeid 

Threun' aig a' ghille-sa, 

Nach do cham am beul 

De na dh' eug no na chinnich dhiubh ; 

Na Gaidheala reubalach, 

Breuna gach cinneadh dhiubh, 

Nach cuireadh iad 's na speuraibh, 

Le eutromas gioragach. 




[These essays, written by Lewis school-children, show how the 
scenery, the occupations, the tales and customs of their own district 
may be used in schools as subjects for composition, and in this way 
the children may be encouraged to take a higher view of and a 
keener interest in their surroundings, their homeland, their language, 
and their race. They are also in this way trained to habits of 
observation and reflection, to reality of treatment, and to individuality. 
Essays in Gaelic are very specially to be commended, and the one 
included in this collection, if not before the others, is certainly not 
behind any of them. It is one of the best of the group, and one 
regrets it is the only one in Gaelic. 

These simple little essays will be found to contain a good deal of 
interest for those who do not know the life and surroundings of 
Highland children, while to those who do they will recall pleasantly 
their own childhood. Their publication here will, it is hoped, give 
the young writers and other Highland children a further interest and 
pride in their country and all that belongs to it. — Ed.] 

The morning sun was shining brightly as we stepped out into 


the open air. Every summer the crofters send out their 
cows to the moor with one of their daughters to look after 
them. All day the girls sit on the heather singing Gaelic 
songs, many of them melancholy and plaintive, as most 
Gaelic songs are ; but all the while they are busy with their 
knitting-needles. They cook their food and sleep at night in 
low, turf huts. We wanted to see one of these sheilings, so 
we went off to the moor with one of the girls. When we 
got there we were offered a bowl of cream mixed with 
crowdie, which they always give to any one who comes to 
visit them. 

The sun had now become so hot that we could not make 
the least exertion, so we lay down on the heather, my com- 
panions to read. As for me, it was so hot that I found it 
pleasanter to lie dreaming on my purple couch. The sky 
above was a clear blue, flecked here and there with delicate, 
feathery clouds. In front was a large hill, its scarred and 
seared side, even on that glorious day, showing barren, its 
top wreathed in a light mist. A little to the left the sea 
sparkled and shimmered in the glorious sunshine, and away 
out on the horizon could be seen, dim and shadowy, two of 
the Flannan Isles. There were no sounds except those of 
nature. A bee came booming past us, and a sea-gull in its 
flight startled the echoes with its shrill, mournful cry. The 
stillness was oppressive, and these sounds only helped to 
make it more so. There was solitude everywhere, not a 
house, not a creature in sight, everywhere the long stretches 
of purple heather. At last we turned our faces homeward, 
but very reluctantly. Crossing the sand-hills near the shore 
on the way back, we found them full of rabbits. They were 
sitting about washing their innocent faces, but at first sight 
of us they scurried back to their holes. 

By the time we returned the sun was low in the west, and 
the red and gold of a fine sunset that betokened a good day 
on the morrow were reflected in the water. We were sur- 
prised to hear the sad haa of many sheep and lambs, and were 
told that they were * lambing the sheep,' that is, weaning the 



lambs, the most affecting part of the shepherd's work. The 
flocks are driven into ^fank or fold from all the moors and 
hills. Then the separation takes place, the ewes being re- 
turned to the moors and the lambs sent to richer pasture. 
An hour or two after we went to bed. 

At midnight I wakened suddenly. It was a glorious 
night. The sky was covered with a network of stars. Sud- 
denly I heard a low, mournful cry, which gradually grew 
louder and then died away. It was the lambs. Sometimes 
a ewe breaks into the flock and runs to comfort her young. 
All through the night I could hear at intervals the mournful 
cry of the motherless. It was a comfort to be told in the 
morning that after a time they get used to the separation. 

D. M. 


Tha e 'na chleachdadh o' chionn fhada air feadh Leodhais 
gu l^ir a bhi teicheadh leis an spreidh gu aite taghta air a' 
mhbinteach agus a fuireach an sin ag ionaltradh na sprMdh re 
mios no s^ seachdainnean de n t-samhradh. 

'S ann air cnoc beag ri taobh lochain mu thri mile seachad 
air Loch-Airigh-na-Lic, tha cuid de kirighean a' bhaile againn 
fhein, agus gu dearbh 'se kite boidheach a th'ann aig an km 
so de'n bhliadhna. 

Tha'm bothan ris an can sinn an kirigh air a thogail de 
chip glasaich agus de chlachan (ma bhios iad r am faotainn), 
agus mullach air a chur air de sgrathan. 

Tha da dhorus air an airigh ach cha bhi fosgailt ach am 
fear a bhios air cul na gaoithe. 

Tha a chaileach — an t-aite laidhe — air a deanamh de fheur 
's de luachar air an sgaoileadh air sgrathan ; agus tha aite anns 
a'bhalla airson a bhi cumail na biota agus soithichean eile. 

Bhithinn ag eirigh a h-uile maduinn mu she uairean 
airson an crodh a ghluasad o'n airigh gus am biodh tid a'm 
bleodhan. Cha do dhearc mi air sealladh a riamh a b'killidh 
na bha romham an uair sin agus an dealt fhathast air gach 


Bha'n cnoc air a' chbmhdach gu trom le fraoch dorch 
purpur : bha glasach r^idh ri cois an locha agns ditheanan 
de gach seorsa am measg an fheoir, agus uisgeachan an locha 
a' dealradh mar ghloinne anns a' ghr^in shamhraidh — iad sin 
uile a' cuideachadh le killeachd an aite. 

Cha robh mi fad air m'adhart 'nuair a chuir guth na circe- 
fraoich no na naoisg i^ilt orm, 's iad ag eirigh romham o an 
neadan anns an fhraoch. Cha robh feannag ghorm air an 
tiginn nach biodh coineanaich gheal-earbalach a' ruith rom- 
ham agus 'g am folach fein am measg an fhraoich. 

Chaidh agam gu trie air an leantainn gu 'n tuill, agus uair 
no dh^ air dhomh mo ghairdean a chur a steach fhuair mi 
nead le leth-dusan de fheadhainn bheaga a bha dubh, gun 
an suilean fhosgladh. 

A tighinn dhachaidh gu na h-airih 'se 'n comhnuidh an 
rathad a tha ri cois an locha bha mi gabhail. Bha am feur 
ann an so gu fada reidh agus ditheanan fiadhaich de gach 
seorsa a' fas 'na mheasg agus mar so bha e anabarrach breagha, 
cuairticht' mar a bha e le fraoch tr5m dearg. Air sealltainn 
dhomh am mach air an loch chunnaic mi faoileagan agus 
tunnagan fiadhaich agus learg no dhk. agus thoisich mi ri 
smaoineachadh c'^ite am biodh na neadan aca. Bha gob 
caol a'dol am mach fada do'n uisge agus smuainich mi gur 
math dh'fhaoidt' gu'm faighinn neadan ann. 

Air dhomh a righinn thoisich mi ri sealltainn am measg 
an fheoir agus chaidh agam mu dheireadh beagan uibhean 
tunnaig agus dhk no tri uibhean faoileig fhaighinn. Cha d' 
fhuair mi aon ubh leirg agus fhuair mi mach gu'n robh iad a 
neadachadh ann an eilean beag am meadhon an locha. 

Bha mi mar an ceudna a' gabhail tlachd mhor ann a bhi 
'g iasgach bhreac le slat 's le lion oir bha iad gle phailt anns 
an loch ged nach robh iad ro mhor. 

Cha do chaith mi mios a riamh na bu thoilicht' no a'mhios 
so air an kirigh. Cha robh taobh a sheallainn nach robh rud- 
eigin a thogadh smuaintean krd anam. 

Bha uaigneas agus aonranachd an aite, bha f^ileadh cubh- 
raidh a bha 'tighinn o'n f hraoch, agus a bhi faicinn na laoigh 



5ga ga'n cluiche fhein, gu l^ir a' dusgadh smuaintean diom- 
hair agus aoibhneach anam. T. M. 


One fine afternoon towards the close of the summer fishing 
I found myself looking back at the swiftly receding wharves 
of Stornoway Harbour from the stern of the fishing- boat 
Mermaid. I had been asked by the skipper to come out 
with them for a night, and had accepted his invitation. We 
were soon bowling along under a stiff breeze from the south- 
west. At the wheel was seated the skipper, and I was 
sitting near him listening to his talk about their success so 
far and their further prospects. Some of the crew were 
lounging about in the bow ; others were down below. So 
far it seems a lazy business ; but wait ! By eight o'clock we 
are in sight of the Butt, and a short time afterwards the 
boat's head is brought up into the wind and the sail lowered 
smartly. The skipper holds the wheel, two men begin to 
haul the spring-rope out of the hold and to attach the net to 
it. Two more tie on the buoys and heave them over, and 
the remaining two see that the nets themselves are all clear. 
The nets being ' shot ' the swing of the rope is brought in 
over the stern, and with the aid of the capstan the mast is 
lowered into its crutch. Two hours have passed away at this 
work. The lantern is lighted and hung up, and the crew 
tumble below to snatch a few hours of sleep before daybreak, 
leaving one man to act as look-out. 

I decide to stay on deck, and, warmly muffled up, I sit in 
the bow of the boat and look around me. Above, the 
summer moon floats serenely in a cloudless sky. All around 
can be seen the twinkle of innumerable lights showing where 
the rest of the fleet have ' shot.' Yet even with these, it is 
very lonely out here on the heaving bosom of the mighty 
ocean. An indefinable sensation of fear takes possession of 
me. I long for some one to talk to. I walk aft and strike 
up a conversation with the silent watcher. He begins to 


talk of past great hauls, and of the great gales they have 
fought. He talks and I listen. By and by the talk drifts 
round to superstition. It is a fine, eerie situation for such a 
subject — the deep stillness of the summer night coupled with 
the soft, dreamy murmur of the sea. He talks of the deeds 
of the fairies, and of the ghosts and visions people have seen. 
He himself has never seen them, but he has heard these 
stories told in the long winter evenings around the blazing 
fire. The conversation drops, and I sit silent. * No wonder,' 
think I, ' sailors and fishermen are superstitious. How could 
they be otherwise than imaginative in these surroundings ? ' 

My teeth begin to chatter, even though I am loaded with 
wraps. My companion advises me to go below. I do so, 
and leave him to his lonely vigil. 

After many attempts I manage to climb into the spare 
bunk, but not to sleep. Around me the timbers of the boat 
are creaking and groaning. I lie awake thinking of all I 
have heard and seen. I begin to think of the danger of 
those ' that go down to the sea in ships and do business in the 
great waters.' At last, however, I fall asleep. 

I seem to have slept for hardly ten minutes, when I hear 
the voice of the man on deck rouse up the others. They 
get up yawning and rubbing their eyes. Shivering in the 
damp, grey air of the dawn, I go on deck. A thin, misty 
glimmer is over the sea. To the south the land lies wreathed 
in mist. But on board, all is bustle and activity. The men 
turn to with a will. The spring-rope is attached to the 
capstan and hauled steadily on board. Some detach the 
buoys, some the nets themselves, shaking the silvery mass of 
herring into the hold. In about an hour this wearisome work 
is over. With the ever-useful capstan the mast is hoisted, 
and the sail, still with the aid of the capstan, is hauled up. 
The cook — generally the youngest of the crew — goes below 
to prepare breakfast, and the boat, with all the sail she can 
carry, makes for the harbour. On all sides are boats making 
for the same goal, pleased, or otherwise, with their catch as 
the case may be. By nine o'clock we reach the harbour, and 


I step on to firm land once more, heartily thanking my friends 
for such a novel experience. R. M. 


* There is a rapture in the lonely shore, 
There is society where none intrudes 
By the deep sea, and music in its roar.' 

I have found it so, sitting alone away there on the black 
Barvas cliffs. Often have I gone to them and wormed myself 
out to the point of a long, low promontory. It is a hard task 
to keep from being blown over ; your hair lies flat back, and 
you have to turn your face from the wind when you breathe. 
Once settled, you give a gasp of awesome wonder. Before 
you is stretched the Atlantic, and you see the ' league-long ' 
rollers come sweeping in. Look at one. Far out in the 
expanse of blue you see a seemingly small ripple. It glides 
slowly in. Gradually, but surely, it grows. Larger and 
higher it becomes as it nears us. It rushes on, gaining 
volume and velocity with every heave. It shows its teeth 
with an angry growl at a rock in its way, and roaring 
defiance comes thundering on, its white crest growing larger, 
and its hovering halo of spray rising higher, till with a 
mighty roar it hurls itself against the black, frowning 
barrier of rock, and sends the foam flying high above the 
cliff tops, to settle in the muran (bent-grass). 

Below you, the round gneiss boulders are rumbling in 
the seething backwash; and the broken water is rushing 
between the rocks, clamouring petulantly to overtake the 
parent wave. The din is terrifying. Even the seagulls 
above are screaming out their discordant cries ; and the 
scarts and puffins appear to think it is their duty to add 
their hoarse croaks to the tumult. Behind, the wind is 
whistling in the muran ; and not far off a tiny rabbit, 
looking like a ball of fur, is haunched up under the shelter of 
a ridge — hardly to be distinguished from the sand on which 
it sits. Now and then, as the wind pauses, the wail of the 

VOL. V. Q 


curlew floats faintly down. It is a sign of the approach of 
evening — of the twilight, when the birds and beasts go to 
rest — but the sea roars on untired. A. L. R. 


There is an old Highland custom which is now, I am 
afraid, almost confined to the island of Lewis. This is the 
reiteach or betrothal ceremony. After a couple have 
' contracted ' they are almost looked upon as married, and 
it is a most unusual occurrence for the engagement to be 

About a month or three weeks before the wedding the 
relatives of the prospective bride and the bridegroom are 
one day invited to come that night to the house of the 
bride's father. The usual preparations for a feast are 
made, and the guests arrive to find that the kitchen has 
undergone a great change. The black, sooty walls have been 
papered with clean newspapers ; the dresser, lit up by the 
glow of the huge peat fire, is shining brilliantly, and every 
stool and bench has been scrubbed vigorously. In the ' room ' 
a table is spread with the best things the village shop 
can supply. The future bride and bridegroom sit at one of 
the tables, the bridesmaid by her side, and the groomsman 
by his. An old man, a relative (usually an uncle) of the 
bridegroom, then stands up and solemnly declares that none 
there shall eat or drink until they know why they have been 
brought together. Whereupon a relation of the bride's 
stands up and announces the engagement. 

Immediately the couple stand up and shake hands amidst 
the cheers and congratulations of all, and toasts are drunk. 
After the supper, dancing and other usual amusements are 
carried on till morning. 

Some years ago this ceremony was much more elaborate, 
but of late years it has been shorn of some of its characteristic 
features. Soon the rHteach, like many another delightful 
Highland custom, will be a thing of the past. J. M. 



No other ceremony in the Highlands affords more 
pleasure to the young than the celebration of the Eve of 
the Bannock. The 15 th of January, the date on which it is 
usually held, is looked forward to by every boy with great 
eagerness. Long before New Year's Day a party of about 
ten boys is formed and a chief is appointed. This one carries 

* the bank ' into which every penny, from whatever source 
obtained, is put. Often so many pennies are collected that 
the village shopkeepers find * the bank ' a convenient means 
of getting their money changed. 

The week preceding the Eve is a busy one for this 
enthusiastic party. A sheep's skin is procured and is 
strengthened by a coating of hard leather from old sea-boots. 
A list is drawn up of all the articles that are to be bought 
and their prices, and a barn is engaged in which to hold the 
ceremony. The celebration begins about six o'clock in the 
evening, when the party proceeds to call at every house for 
the ceremonial bannock, prepared for the purpose, and which 
every house must at any cost produce. One boy carries the 
sheep's skin on his back and is first to enter ; another carries 
a bag for the cakes ; another stays at the door to repeat the 

* door-rhyme,' and another at the widow for the * window- 

The one who is to repeat the door-rhyme begins by bless- 
ing the inhabitants of the house and concludes by saying that 
'the crow has come to the door and has croaked for admit- 
tance.' Then the one with the sheep's skin enters and goes 
thrice round the fire, while the inhabitants of the house deal 
him blows with tongs, broom, or whatever else they can lay 
hold of The toughness of the skin preserves him. With 
him also is the boy with the bag. Meanwhile the one who is 
to repeat the window-rhyme begins by saying that to-night 
is Oidhche na Calainn; that he will take bread without 
butter, and butter without bread, and potatoes by themselves, 
why therefore should he go away obtaining nothing ? Then 


he goes on to bless them if they are liberal, but to call down 
upon them the most awful dooms if they are stingy. There 
are many variations of the rhymes but they are all skilfully 
composed and have a fine flow. 

When the party have enough bread they carry it to their 
barn and go shopping, and it is about ten o'clock before they 
come back. Then the jollity begins. The feasting, music, 
dancing, and story- telling continue till daylight, when the 
party disperses. No school for them in the morning ! 

N. M. 


We had often wished to spend a day on the moor, and 
when at last the weather condescended to smile approval on 
our plans, we seized the opportunity, and with our provision- 
bags slung over our shoulders we prepared for a four or five 
mile tramp. Between ten and eleven on a fine August 
morning about half a dozen of us set out. After getting clear 
of the townships we had for some time to walk along a peat 
track. Nothing was to be seen but peats, and more peats, 
and beyond that peats again. An occasional cart, which a 
woman was busily engaged in filling, alone broke the 
monotony of the scene. But gradually we left all this 
behind us, and before us was stretched out in all its grandeur 
the moor. Beneath our feet was a carpet of springy heather ; 
in front of us and around us was the purple moor ; to the 
left we could see the waves of the Atlantic dazzling and 
dancing in the sun. Before us the ground rose in gentle 
undulations and occasionally in the hollows thus formed little 
streams ran down to the sea. At one of these we cried a 
halt, the beauty of the spot and the close vicinity of a shelling 
proclaiming it a suitable place wherein to pitch our tent. 

We had walked about two hours and were quite ready 
for * the cup that cheers,' so proceeded at once to see what 
could be done in the way of making a fire. Our first thought 


was to pay a visit to the little kirigh standing near, and as 
there seemed no sign of life about we went up and recon- 
noitred. Finding the door open we walked in and had a look 
round. The little dwelling in which we found ourselves may 
be taken as a fair specimen of the sheilings on the moor. 
The roof and walls were made of turf, and the only seats it 
possessed were also turf, but the bed was partly formed of 
stones. The only other article of furniture, a small wooden 
cupboard, soon attracted our attention and on opening it we 
tacitly agreed to break the eighth commandment. There in 
front of us was the very thing we wanted — one, two, three 
bowls of cream ! — for we had neglected to bring any, feeling 
sure some such chance as this would offer itself In the 
middle of the floor there burned a good peat fire, over which 
some tusk, probably the owner's dinner, was boiling. Carry- 
ing some of the live peats down to our camping-ground we 
soon had a fire of our own, and returned to search for a kettle 
in some shape or form. The nearest approach to this that we 
could get was a pot which served the purpose, however, 
equally well. Lid there was none, but 'necessity is the 
mother of invention,' and we found that a flat stone made a 
good substitute. The water taken from the stream was soon 
boiling, and not many minutes afterwards we were enjoying 
what we all declared to be 'the best cup of tea we ever 
tasted.' While we were serenely drinking it, however, we 
noticed a woman approaching the shelling, and a sense of our 
guilt stole over us. Two of us rose at once to go and confess 
our theft and offer some compensation, but got instead a 
pleasant surprise to find in her an old friend who joined our 
tea-party, and would willingly have placed the rest of the 
cream at our disposal. 

After this some of us walked on about a mile farther, the 
rest lazily preferring to lie in the sun. The excessive heat 
soon drove us back to do the same, and the time passed 
quickly in this indolent fashion till we thought it time to 
prepare for the march back. 

Strengthening ourselves for the return journey by another 


cup of tea, we took a last look round and reluctantly turned 
homewards. The four or five miles seemed like so many 
yards, so quickly did the time pass with song and story, and 
we re-entered the villages just as the dusk was beginning to 
creep over the scene. C. J. M. 


It was the twilight of a day in early August. I was 
staying in the country for a week and was taking my 
customary evening walk over the moors, with the daughter 
of my hostess, to herd home the cows, for milking-time had 

The mossy grass on which we walked edged the vast 
expanse of brown and purple moor. The tiny flowers in the 
marsh beside the road were closing up, but here and there a 
clump of rushes or a sturdy thistle stood up like sentinels 
guarding their more fragile companions. We jumped across 
a peat-bank, at the side of which a stretch of white cotton- 
grass shivered in the wind, lonely and ghost-like. 

We were now on the moor. The purple, red, and pink 
hues of the heather were growing indistinct under the shades 
of evening. From the west spread outward a faint purple 
haze, which slowly enshrouded the whole moor. The calm of 
the scene was disturbed only by the distant lowing of the 
cattle, the occasional good-night twitter of one of the smaller 
birds and the rustling of the heather as we trod on it. 

We walked on, now picking some ragged -robins from 
their marshy bed, now stopping to watch a mavis giving its 
little ones their supper. A mist rose in front of us from 
behind a little hill, and the cry of some wild-fowl came from 
the same direction. We climbed the hillock ; in front of us 
lay a little loch, still and grey in the fading light. The mist 
rising from it seemed to carry away with it all the heat of 
the day and leave in its place the chill of evening. The 
water lapped gently against the stones on the grassy bank. 
Now and then a lively trout widened by its leap the ripples 
on the glassy surface and swayed the clumps of water-lilies 




that floated at the loch-side. Past us through the heather 
scurried a timid little rabbit. At last we reached the cows. 
They had grown impatient, and were beginning to seek their 
own way home, now stopping to chew a tempting morsel, 
now turning round with a friendly ' moo.' Night fell slowly 
and wrapped the August tints of the moor in a cloak of 
sombre brown. All the flowers had long gone to sleep. The 
birds also had ceased their good-night song, except the wild 
ducks, whose hoarse cries increased the feeling of mystery 
and the dreariness that night had brought with it. From 
the house, the plaintive notes of a Gaelic lament rose and 
fell on the still air, for Mairi, the milk-maid, had a sweetheart 
away at the fishing, and she never ceased singing ' Fear a' 

One backward glance over the broad expanse of sleeping 
moor, and chilled by the loneliness of the scene, I sprang on 
to the road, and up the hill, home, to watch the evening 
milking and afterwards listen to the tale of the 'Crippled 
Tailor,' or the terrors of Mac-an-t-Sr6naich, told not for the 
first time, but listened to with never-failing interest as we 
sat round the blazing peat-fire in the twilight. J. C. M. 


The rugged moorland was bathed in the rosy light of the 
risen sun as I set out for an early ramble. Stretching to 
meet the clear blue sky was the undulating stretch of purple 
heath, broken here and there by a glistening pool. Purple, 
green, and brown were all steeped in the warm light of the 
morning sun. In the wet hollows groups of graceful cotton- 
flowers nodded their silvery heads to the morning breeze, 
and the birds in their swift flight poured forth their joyful 
song of welcome to the day. 

Outlined against the bright blue of the heavens stood a 
lonely shelling. Nature alone reigned in this spot. Not 
even the little shelling suggested man and his works ; but 
seemed instead as if it had sprung up with the flowers. 
Everything appeared to be full of new life. The soft, caressing 



breeze seemed to waft to me the tiny, mysterious whispers of 
elves and strange sounds of fairyland. 

As I walked briskly across the springy turf I felt as if I 
too had begun life anew, had as it were begun to breathe 
again. The pure, bracing air, the fragrant scent of the 
heather, and the wild beauty of my surroundings all com- 
bined to make me feel as free and joyous as the wild duck 
among the rushes. It seemed to me as if I, too, could, like 
the strong- winged birds passing overhead, cry ' honck, honck,' 
and be content. To throw out my arms and let the wind 
blow me whither it willed was what I would fain have done. 

Each little flower had raised its dewy head to greet the 
morning, and from afar came faintly the lowing of cattle. 
Farther on I came upon one of the shelling cows, leisurely 
chewing the cud. Hearing my footsteps she turned her head 
and gazed quietly at me with her great mild eyes. Then, no 
doubt deciding that I was a harmless creature, she turned 
again and took no further notice. 

Continuing my walk I suddenly spied the good lady of 
the shelling coming towards me. Like her quaint little hut, 
she seemed to fit properly her surroundings. With a bright 
and cheery ' La math ' she invited me, with the ever-ready 
Highland hospitality, to come to her shelling and refresh 
myself with some of the warm milk just drawn from the cow. 
Such an invitation was of course accepted. J. M. 


It was evening. A pink flush lingered on the western 
horizon, and the long barred clouds of evening were tinged 
with a gleam of golden red. From where we sat in the 
heather, the hill, purple- splashed, with here and there a 
rough boulder, fell ruggedly to the shore. In front spread 
the calm, full waters of the harbour, and their gentle lapping 
on the rocks was borne to us faintly from afar. Away down 
on the left across the water lay Stornoway, and leading from 
it, along the sea s edge, Newton and Sandwich formed the left 



boundary of the harbour. There, rising back from the water's 
edge, nestled the town, its walls and roofs touched with the 
tints of evening, and over all — the grey town, the village by 
the sea, and the haven of the old Norse Vikings with its 
green potato-fields and yellow, ripening cornfields — brooded a 
quiet peace. As we looked the pink faded slowly from the 
sky and left the grey. A slight rustle passed over all, a 
rabbit's face peeped out and disappeared, the blue-grey smoke 
floated up, and night began to settle loth over the earth. 
Away to the right rolled the vast, silent, darkening moor. A 
yellow road wound into it and got lost. Through the 
swellings of the waste we caught the gleam of a river on its 
journey towards the sea. A peninsula jutted out, guarded 
by a lighthouse ; in front and behind it the moor stretched 
on till it dropped into the sea in rounded, softened hills. 
Lights peeped out in the town, the shadows melted into the 
dark, and we turned home. D. M. 



The tide had turned ; so for four long hours the fish 
would not take. We meant to wait it out, so lazily on the 
long groundswell that heaved in sleepy folds we floated out 
two miles beyond the Chicken Eock. The lingering flush of 
the dying day was fading in the west. In the growing 
darkness the outlines of the Lochs hills melted into one 
another, and the mountains lay a huddled mass of shadows 
against the glowing sky. To the south Cleisham, wrapped 
in the mists of distance, was still touched by the glory of the 
departed day. From where we lay we could see the entrance 
to Stornoway Harbour, and in the thickening darkness 
Holm Point and the headland of Arnish seemed to be one, 
whilst the lighthouse, lone and white, kept its vigil among 
the brown hills. In front of us lay the Braigh where the 
waves are always murmuring of the mysteries of the deep. 
Far beyond the little homestead of Melbost rose the twin 
hills of Barvas, and further to the north, lonely Monach. 


Slowly the pink in the west faded, the shadows of the 
evening deepened, and soft peace came down on the sea. 
The shrill stearnaich ceased their wheelings around Sgeir na 
Sgriamh, and the wild pigeons sought the shelter of their 
dark caves and rock-fissures. Over the surface of the silent 
sea skipped homeward a flock of sea-parrots, and higher up a 
silent pair of solan geese swept from sight. Darkness fell at 
last ; but, as if night were shaking herself from sleep, a short 
gasp of wind, followed by a second and third, came out of the 
east, whilst great dark clouds rolled up from the sea. Soon a 
gentle ' easter ' was blowing warmly though clamily, bearing 
with it its usual burden of mist, and almost in a moment 
everything was blotted out by the fog. N. C. 


We were all gathered round the fire. It was a great big 
fireplace, and every little while the wide, black chimney was 
lit up by an extra large flame. Outside the wind roared and 
dashed the rain furiously against the window-panes. The 
night was black as pitch. But inside were warmth and 
comfort. We children would not have the lamp lit. Stories 
were best when told by firelight. The old shepherd was 
story-teller. He was very old, but the older he became the 
more stories he had to tell. We wanted fairy stories. 

' There are no such things as fairies,' said young Murdo. 

* Are there not ? ' said the old shepherd. * 'Tis your ignorance 
that makes you say so.' ' Did you ever see them, Ian ? ' 
I asked. ' Tell me about them.' ' Well then, if the " men of 
peace " did not change Tormad Dubh's baby, who did ? And 
did not we use to see their red lights when they danced 
round their little green hills ? And they could dance, and no 
w^onder ! ' ' Why, Ian ? ' ' Because they had music that 
would make a minister dance.' 'What are they like?' 

* They are very beautiful and very small. Their dresses are 
green in colour, the green of their hills. There is a woman I 


know from Carlo way who has communication with the " good 
neighbours." They sing their songs to her, but she does not 
see them. They come to her at night. Green is their 
favourite colour, and they become angry with any person who 
wears it. That is why green is considered unlucky. And it 
is no little matter to anger them. When they quarrelled 
among themselves, they fought with great fury. Their hills 
echoed with the din of the conflict.' ' Are they ever seen 
now, Ian ? ' ' No — not so often at any rate ; but they still 
attend weddings and funerals, though invisible. My grand- 
mother would never eat at a wedding. She believed that the 
Sithich (fairies) took away the food provided, and put in its 
stead food that was hurtful. Ah, what have I been saying ? 
It is well this is not Friday.' And not another word would 
he speak of the ' Daoine Sith.' So he told us instead some 
of the things he had from his grandmother. 

' Many years have passed since my old grandmother told 
me the tale ; and she said that it was a very old story then. 
In the lochs there dwelt a huge monster, a water-horse. He 
was very dangerous. He used to swell the loch, so that 
any one that happened to be in the neighbourhood was swept 
into it, and afterwards devoured. This monster had a 
liking for women and children, whom he enticed to his 
dwellings under the loch, there to eat them up. The grass 
round the loch also served him for food. Not very long ago 
there was a seileig in a loch over the way of Leurbost. A 
seileig is not the same as the each-uisge. It is like an 
enormous eel, and is supposed to come from the sea. Several 
people saw a part of this seileig rise like an island in the 
middle of the loch. They got a big hook and fastened it to 
a long chain. On the hook they hung the carcass of a sheep, 
and threw it into the loch. Next day they pulled out the 
chain. The sheep was gone, and the great hook had been 
pulled straight. There was a burn running from the loch to 
the sea, and some time after, when it was in spate, the people 
saw traces along the sides of the burn as if some slimy 
monster had been making its way from the loch to the sea. 



It must have been the seileigy for nothing more was seen of it 
in the loch/ J. M. 

It is a cold, frosty night in November. The stars are 
twinkling in the dark sky and the scent of peat fills the air. 
The village seems to be asleep, but behind the closed doors 
happy faces are glowing in the firelight. At this hour many 
are going out to ceilidh, and we may see the young lads 
donning their beautiful pink and green socks, while the girls 
are showing to advantage their gay blouses, trophies of the 
fishing season. 

A little distance behind the other houses is a little bothy 
where Mairi Mhor and her brother live. Everybody knows 
Mairi, the old maid, for her house is the tigh ceilidh of the 
village, and many are the plots hatched under her roof, and 
many the sly cup of tea read there. She is wrinkled and 
grey, but she has the quick head for devising tricks, and her 
laugh rings out as joyous and clear as the trilling of the lark. 
To-night her little kitchen is swept clean and is lit up by the 
blazing fire which sends out a cheerful, hearty glow. Not a 
sound disturbs the stillness, but the whir of Mairi's wheel as 
she spins her winter store of thread. She has been very 
busy since harvest for six large balls of thread are hanging on 
the wall beside her. On the other side of the kitchen her 
brother is lying on the heinc puffing at the blackened stump 
of an old clay pipe. He is gazing complacently at the strings 
of dry haddocks that stretch across the kitchen, but he finds 
that his pipe has gone out, so he picks up a glowing peat 
with the tongs and relights it. Suddenly talking and 
laughter is heard, and Mairi rises from her wheel. He knows 
what that means, and with a grunt rises and goes out to have 
a chat with his cronies about the potatoes or the weather. 

Three girls enter, their faces glowing with health, and 
their hair combed tightly back off their foreheads. Mary of 
the black eyes sits on the beinc. She is rather quiet to-night, 
but the other two dive beneath the heinc and come out with 


their arms full of peats. These thej place one above the 
other on the floor, and are thus supplied with seats which 
they can draw near the fire, for Mairi has only one chair in 
her establishment. Now the tongues begin to go. The 
harvest, the fishing, their cows, are discussed; then they 
begin to comment on the forthcoming marriages, for there are 
to be many this winter as the fishing season has been so 
successful. Mary of the black eyes works feverishly at her 
sock, a heather coloured one with crimson diamonds, and the 
burning colour mounts to her forehead. Mairi Mhor nods 
to the others and glances slyly at her. They understand. 
Although their tongues are busy, so are their hands. Mairi 
Mhor is carding, one is knitting a guernsey, while Christy 
E/uadh is frowning over a fold of pink flannelette which, 
along with her red hair, has rather a fiery efiect. Three lads 
enter, and with a * Tha sibh anny.' They bring out more peats 
and sit down beside the girls. The tongues go quicker than 
ever, and Mary has a bad time of it ; she is teased mercilessly. 
In this genial atmosphere the lads are at their best, and 
bursts of laughter ring out as their stories of England and 
the other places they have seen are listened to with delight. 
But time flies and the eyes are beginning to get drowsy, so 
leaving Mairi nodding by the fire they make their way 
homeward. A. M. 



Donald A. Mackenzie 

This tale would Donald 

The Bard, recite 
By the Ceilidh fire 

On a winter night. 

'Tis in Lochaber dwells the man — 

Mac Cuaric of Lianachan : 

Bold and brave and big was he 

And black, who now is white and worn ; 

Full blithesome he whose heart doth mourn 

His spouse and children three : 



For they have passed before their time, 

And he is faded in his prime — 

Ah ! the fairies' curse and the goblins' curse, 

And the Glaistig's curse, are on the man. 

Alas for thee, and for all thy kind. 

That thou didst ever the Glaistig bind — 

Mac Cuaric of Lianachan ! 

Hearken and hear the story told : 

Mac Cuaric was brave and bold 

That lonesome night when he would set 

In yonder river the salmon net. 

When up the bank he clambered sprightly 

To reach the steed as black as jet. 

To grasp the bridle tightly — 

That night, that night he '11 ne'er forget ! 

For an awesome cry he heard. 

As into the saddle he leapt full lightly ; 

And he said, ' 'Tis the lone night bird 

Crying up through the valley wide.' 

When the winsome moon came out all brightly. 

And he saw the Glaistig by his side, 

Like the vision of a lady fair, 

With beaming eyes and blowing hair, 

With mantle green that floated wide 

And showed her shape from neck to knee — 

Beautiful in all her pride ! 

* All hail to thee ! all hail to thee ! 

* O big black lad, all hail ! ' said she. 

* Is there room for a rider behind 1 ' she cried. 

* Yes, and a rider before,' said he. 
And she came nearer and more near. 
Then in his arms he locked her there. 
His heart was bold — he had no fear — 
For she was, oh, so fair ! 

And ere she could flit beyond his reach, 
He swung her lightly from the beach ; 
And set her before him on the steed — 
While the wind tossed out her yellow hair — 
So strong was he, so bold indeed ! 
And with Fillan's wizard belt he tied 
Her struggling arms on either side ; 

And there she sat secure. 
As the mettlesome steed fled over the moor. 


* Let me go, oho ! ' 
She would wail in her woe. 
He would answer her, * No, 
Thus will I hold thee, 
I shall ne'er let thee go. 
Till men will behold thee 
And laugh at thy woe ! ' 

For the steed fled fast, the steed fled free. 
With the big black lad and the green ladye. 

' Let me go,' she would wail — 
She would wail, she would cry. 
'No wish I'll deny. 
Thou shalt have without fail 
Of cattle a fold, 
Speckled and bold, 
Black over, white under, 
At which men will wonder ; 
And a white-crowned bull ; 
And thy barns all full ; 
And success in the chase 
On the hill and the moor. 
To you and your race 
For evermore ! 
If thou wilt but steady 
Thy steed by yon shore, 
If thou wilt but steady — 
If thou 'It set me free.' — 
' All mine already. 
Already,' said he. — 

And the steed fled fast, and the steed fled free, 
With the big black lad and the green ladye. 

' Oho ! let me go,' 
She would wail in her woe. 
' I will flee from yon strand 
Yon knoll of my home, 
I will flee from yon land. 
Over hills I will roam, 
Over seas I will go — 
If thou 'It free me, oho ! 
Oh, hearken ! ' she cried, 


* To-night I would build thee 
A home for thy bride ; 

Four strong walls will shield thee, 
And the roof will be wide. 

hearken ! ' she cried, 

* On yon field — 'tis my plight — 

1 will build it to-night. 

Fire will not hum it^ 
Water o'erturn it, 
Not caterans harm it. 
From fairies I'll charm it, 
Goblins will dread it, 
With comfort I'll spread it, 
Set me free — set me free / ' 
* When thou shalt fulfil thy promise,' said he. 

Then on the moor she shrieked full loud. 
And the moon sprang back behind a cloud. 
Her shriek was like a thousand rills 

In one fierce cataract borne. 
'Twas heard all over seven hills, 

Like Fionn's mighty horn — 
The Horn of Worth he blew at morn. 

Then from every crag on the mountain-side 

The fairy echoes awoke and cried. 

And swept and rang through the valley wide. 

Like a thunder roll 
In the heart of night. 

From every knoll 
And every height. 
From every cliff and every cave, 
Out of the mist, and out of the shadow. 
In a flash, like the sweep of a falling wave. 
The fairies fluttered across the meadow. 
Thick as snowflakes in the air, 
Thick as daisies in the valley. 
Flitting here and flitting there. 
Like the waves about the galley, 
Hound the Glaistig see them rally : 
Prancing, stuttering, dancing, muttering, 
Ogling beadily, leering greedily — 
But the Glaistig is her orders uttering. 
And they set to work right speedily. 


Where Clianig's wild cascade moans, 
See them quarry slabs and stones ; 
Id one long line the fairies stand, 
And reach them on from hand to hand. 

Hearken ! in the Rowan Wood, 
On the Isle of Knoll of Shore — 

Crash the trees as they are hewed, 
And the beams are carried o'er, 

And the rafters straight and thick — 

Carried sure and carried quick. 

And ever at MacCuaric's side 
The Glaistig wailed, the Glaistig cried- 
And ever she made moan, 

'Midst her shrieks and groans — 

' Two stones over one stone. 

One stone over two stones ; 

Fetch the stake and fetch the hod, 

Fetch the pin, and fetch tlie clod, 

Speedily, oh speedily I 

And every timber in the wood, 

But mulbery, but mulbery.' 

Alas for him who recks not of his woe 

And fairy wrath forgets ! 
Alas for him who gets not as he sows 

And sows not as he gets ! 

Now o'er the mountains all aloof 
The grey dawn flings its cloak ; 

But now the clod is on the roof. 
And on the roof the smoke. 

MacCuaric crouches by the fire. 
He keeps the coulter red and hot, 

To save him from the Glaistig's ire — 
To guard him from a fairy plot, 

And from enchantments dire. 

Then the Glaistig knelt, 
He took off the charm ; 
He unloosed the belt. 
And suffered no harm. 

VOL. V. 


When through the window she stretched a hand 
To bid him farewell, ere she 'd leave the land, 
He knew in his heart, 'twas an evil plot — 
In her hand he thrust the coulter hot. 

Then with a groan. 
And a face of gloom, 
She leapt on a stone 
To pronounce his doom. 

She gave him the curse of the fairies old, 
And the curse of the goblins too ; 

And if we would heed as we hear, 'tis told 
That every curse came true. 

' Grow like the rushes, 
But wither like thyme ; 
Grow grey in your youth 
And fade in your prime. 
When your heart is strong 
Your heart will bleed ; 
And I ask not a son — 
Not a son to succeed. 

* OhI I am the sorrowing Glaistig 
That stayed on the silvern shore ; 
For I built thy house on the Meadow, 

And it cleaved my heart to the core 

* For I must pass like a shadow 

And, oh, I must spill my gore 
On Finisgeig — its peak, its peak 
Will be red for evermm'e I 

And ere he could blame — 
And ere he could speak — 
She leapt in a flame 
Of green o'er the peak. 

Such is the tale the bard would recite 
By the Ceilidh fire on the winter night ; 
Such is the tale of the shattered man — 
MacCuaric of Lianachan. 


(From the MSS. of the late Rev. Father Allan Macdonald.) 

[A tale told me by Mary Macmillan, Eriskay. As her 
Gaelic style is slovenly I did not take it down from dictation, 
but I have kept all the incidents she gave, though I know she 
cannot have given the story completely, as there is a want of 
finish all through.] 

A king had three daughters all marriageable. The first 
would not be given in marriage unless her father got her 
weight in gold. I don't know about the second, but the 
third was to have her weight in gold given with her to the 
man who married her. They were odd conditions, and as 
girls will be speaking about such things the king's three 
daughters were speaking about what kind of husbands they 
would likely get. The young one said she did not care a bit, 
that she would marry Tarbh M6r na h-Iorbhaig (the Great 
Bull of Irvaig) himself if he came for her. Little did she 
think what she was saying. 

A week after there was seen coming to the house the 
Great Bull of Irvaig, and he began hitting and tearing up the 
ground, and looking as if he would pull the house to pieces. 
The maiden remembered what she had said and told her 
sisters that she would go away with the Bull even though it 
should be death to her. They would not hear of letting her go 
away, but as the Bull was looking so dreadful and putting 
them all in danger they let her go down, and when she got out 
of the door the Bull meekly and reverently lowered his head 
and made a seat for her between his horns, and away he sped 
with her till he came to a * caolas ' or channel, which he swam 
across and came to a little island. There was a house in the 
island and everything in plenty in it, but not a man or 
woman or child to be seen. When they got into the house 
the Bull threw off a ' cochull ' or cowl and was the most 
handsome of men, and he told the maiden how he had been 
put under spells by a wicked stepmother and that he could 



never be freed from the spells unless she had married him 
and that he was a king's son himself, but that he had to go 
through a good deal yet before he could get free from the 
spells laid on him. Though he would be a Bull all day and 
to everybody else, to her he would be a human being as she 
saw him then every night when he came home to rest 
with her. 

He was so kind and pleasant that she felt the time passing 
happily, and, towards the end of three-quarters of a year, he 
told her that he thought it was not a good place for her to be 
alone with him, and that if she liked he would convey her to 
her father s house to be with her mother and sisters who had 
married since but were not far away. ' Take care,' he said, 
^ that you never lay a finger on that " cochull," and above all 
you must promise me never to let them know at home that I 
ever assume any shape but the shape of the Bull, for if you 
do it will be bad for you and for me.' She paid heed to his 
words and promised him what he asked. 

He put on the * cochull,' and was straightway a Bull 
again. He bent down his head and made a seat for her 
between his horns. He swam the channel between the island 
and the mainland, and sped away till he came to her father's 
house. When they saw the Bull coming with her they were 
in great alarm, but when he let her down gently at the door 
and departed they went to welcome her, and her mother and 
sisters were soon with her. 

In due time she had a baby boy, and all were so pleased, 
but many a time was she asked by them what appearance 
the Bull assumed when at his own place. She was faithful 
to her promise and would not say a word about those things. 

One evening, as the baby was being nursed and all were 
happy talking and laughing, a huge hand came in at the 
chimney and seized the baby and disappeared with it. The 
mirth was changed to sorrow and lamenting and the young 
mother was very sad. 

A fortnight after the birth of the child the Bull was seen 
hurrying along to the house, and they knew he came for her 


and they made every effort to detain her but with no effect. 
On her going to the door the Bull reverently bent his head 
and made a seat for her between his horns and sped away, 
swam the sound, and got to the island and into the house, 
and threw off the ' cochuU ' and was again a handsome young 
man. * You are sad,' said he, ' not to have your baby with 
you. ' She said she was. * Do not be sad then, for the boy 
is being well looked after and I know where he is.' This 
relieved her mind and she lived very happily. The Bull was 
absent during the day generally, but in coming home in the 
evening he threw off the ' cochull,' and his beautiful appearance 
and pleasant ways made her feel happy with him. 

After a due interval it was thought proper she should go 
again to her father's house, and the same cautions as to 
talking were given to her. She had a second baby boy, and 
just as happened to the first the second was also taken away 
by a huge hand, though all present were keeping strict watch 
and holding on to the baby when it was being seized. The 
Bull came for the Princess as before, and told her the second 
boy was also alive and well cared for. 

A third time she came to her father's house and had a 
third baby boy, but this time she was so sorely tempted by 
her sisters and mother to tell about her mysterious husband 
that she told them all about him and about the ' cochull ' and 
the beautiful and handsome and kind man he was, and how 
she was happier with him, she felt sure, than any of them 
felt in their homes. The third baby was also snatched away 
and the Bull came this time on the thirteenth day showing 
great signs of anger. He tossed his head and his eyes were 
wild, and he lashed his tail in anger and he tore at the ground 
and butted against the house, so that they were all in terror. 
One of her sisters had told her to burn the ' cochull ' and to 
keep her husband in his right appearance always. The poor 
young wife felt she had to blame herself for breaking her 
promises and was afraid of the Bull, but she made up her 
mind to go to him in any case, even though she should be 
killed. When she got to the door the Bull lowered his head 



and made a seat for her between his horns, and away he sped, 
and never stopped till he swam the channel and came to the 
island and into the house. He told her that she had caused 
his and her mishap, and that he was afraid he was bound to 
lose her for ever as he had to go alone on a perilous journey 
and leave her behind. He told her that their three boys 
were each in the keeping of a giant, and that their only 
chance of escape was through his interest with these giants. 
He was very much afraid that she would never overtake him , 
and that if he reached his own country he would be forced to 
marry one whom he had half promised to marry, and he felt 
this more than anything else. 

He bade her good-bye, and said he could do nothing for 
her but give her a pair of boots that would serve in good 
stead. The nearest of the giants was a year and a day's 
walk away, but with the boots she could do it in a day, 
and it was only by going to them she could hope to get 
out of this land of enchantment. He left in great sadness, 
and she was in equally great sadness. 

When morning came she set off on her journey to the 
giants, and at nightfall saw a glimmer of light on the floor 
of a glen, and she made for it, not knowing whether it 
would be to her happiness or to her misfortune. On salut- 
ing at the door she was welcomed by a great kindly voice, 
which told her that she was expected, and that her husband 
had been there last night. The giant told her that the 
boy who was playing with a shinty on the floor was her 
oldest boy. ' You will rest to-night in my house, and I will 
give you another pair of boots that will enable you to get 
to my brother's house in a day, though it is a year and a 
day's journey away. 

After supping she was sent to sleep in the soft, white, 
woollen blankets, and though the daylight came early she 
was afoot earlier, and away in quest of her husband. 

The second night she came to the second giant's house, 
and found her second boy, and was treated with equal 
kindness, and provided with another pair of boots. The 


giant told her that the journey was a difficult one, but that 
he thought she could get along to the third brother well 
enough, but then the most difficult part was to begin. He 
told her also that her husband had been there the night 

Before daylight next morning she was afoot and started 
on her journey, but thanks to the boots she found the third 
giant's house that night. He welcomed her kindly, and 
pointed out to her the third boy, and told her that her 
husband had left his house in the morning, but that he was 
afraid she might not be able to follow him. He promised, 
however, that he would do his best for her, and if she did 
anything as he directed, that there was still a chance for 
her. * To-night you must rest here. You will leave the 
boots also, as we have need of them ourselves. You will 
have to cross a river of fire, and if a spark touch you, you 
will be all burnt by the fire. You will then have to cross 
a hill of pointed glass, and the slightest wound will make 
you bleed to death. Then you will have to cross a mountain 
of thorns, and if they seize you they will keep you till you 
die. And last of all, there is a mountain of fire which, if 
you touch it, will burn you to a coal [cinder].' She was 
frightened to hear what she had to go through, but when 
she thought of her husband it gave her courage for every- 
thing. When she was thinking that there was no way for 
her of getting out of where she was the giant told her that 
he had a * falarg ' or magic horse, and that he would lend 
it to her for her journey, and that if she gave the * falarg * 
an apple of a special colour before each great leap he had to 
make, that he would take her safe through if she could only 
keep in the saddle. 

After resting that night she got up early in the morning, 
and the giant saw her mounted on the ' falarg,' and gave her 
the four apples of different colours, and told her that if she 
got to her journey's end she was to tie the bridle in a special 
knot, and that would be a sign to him that she had arrived 
safely. If the ' falarg ' arrived with the bridle hanging loose 



about him he would know that she had perished. She 
thanked the giant and went her way. She had not long 
gone when she came to the river of fire, with the fire boiling 
and rolling over and sputtering. She tightened her dress 
about her, fixed herself well in the saddle, gave the ' falarg ' 
an apple, and he bounded high and clean over the river of 
fire. She then went on and came to the foot of the hill of 
glass. It looked very dreadful. She gave the 'falarg' 
another apple, and he bounded high over the hill and landed 
her on the floor of a glen at the other side. She rode on and 
came to the foot of the mountain of thorns, and giving the 
magic horse another apple she was borne swiftly right over 
the mountain without even touching it. She came down on 
another glen and rode on till at last she came to the moun- 
tain of fire. She gave the * falarg ' the last apple, and at 
once he leapt high into the air over the top of the burning 
mountain, and landed gently on the other side, where her 
way was easier. She tied the bridle about his neck, and he 
bounded at once over the mountain out of her sight, and the 
giant knew that the king's daughter had got safely over the 
mountains. The country now was easy to walk. It was not 
enchanted at all. As she was going along, not exactly 
knowing where she should direct her feet, she came to a 
river, but she did not see a bridge up or down. As she was 
walking along the bank she noticed a woman washing on 
the other side, and she asked her how she was to get 
across. The one who was washing told her to walk a little 
way up till she came to a ford, and walked up on her side of 
the river so as to point it out. On getting over the princess 
thanked her guide and asked her what news was going. 

'Indeed, this is news. The kings son, who was away 
under enchantments for many years, has come back, and they 
are anxious that he should marry at once. But he says he 
won't marry any one except the one who washes a stain of 
blood out of his three white shirts.' 

The poor wife knew it was her husband, and knew that 
the stains of blood were tears of blood he had shed for herself, 


and she said she would try to wash them. ' You need not 
try,' said the other. * I am the fifth who has tried already, 
and we have all failed.' 

' I will try, however,' said the princess, ' and if I succeed 
you must promise to let me sleep with the prince the first 
three nights after your marriage.' The other agreed to this, 
and the prince's wife began to wash the shirts, and she made 
them as white as snow, and the other woman went home to 
the king and the prince with the white shirts, and the poor 
prince sorely against his wishes was forced to celebrate a 
wedding with her. At night as he was going to sleep this 
woman gave him a sleeping draught and then put the other 
in her place. 

But do what she could or say what she would the prince 
never in any way recognised her. In the morning she had 
to leave him. At night she came again, but he had been 
given another sleeping draught, and it had the same power 
over him. She lamented and wailed all night, saying : — 

* I bore three sons. 
I crossed a river of fire, 
A mountain of glass, 
A mountain of thorns, 
A burning mountain for you. 

And I washed the bloodstains from your three shirts. 
But you pay no heed to me.' 

All night long she crooned this, but to no effect. 

There was a waiting- woman who overheard her and picked 
up her words, and went next day to the prince, saying, 
' What a strange wife you have got, who keeps on crooning 
all night.' And she repeated her words. * I am sure I don't 
know,' said the prince. ' I did not hear her.' * She was so 
last night and the night before last, and you must have taken 
a sleeping draught not to have heard her,' said the woman. 
The prince on the third night noticed the sleeping draught 
prepared for him, and contrived to make believe that he had 
taken it. When he went to bed he pretended to sleep more 
deeply than ever. His wife was allowed to go to his bed for 



the third and last night. She began her crooning before 
long. He listened as patiently as he could. He then spoke 
to her, and got up and brought her to his father, and he told 
him he would never have another wife but herself He told 
the story of his enchanted life, and how if it had not been for 
her and for her three children, which had been given to the 
giants to procure their goodwill and assistance, he could never 
have escaped from the spells that had been laid upon him. 



Bha Binne-bheul fad air a h-aineol an tir an eorna, 's latha 
de na laithean thuirt i gu'm bu mhithich dith nis dol dhach- 
aidh d'a flaitheas fein, far nach laigheadh grian, 's far nach 
eireadh gaoth, 's far nach sguireadh ceol. An ciaradh na 
h-oidhche chaidh i steach 'na bhirlinn nach iarradh seol no 
stiuir ach riin a cridhe fein, *s mar an eala shiab i as an 
t-sealladh. Ach air oiteig fhann an fhoghair dh' fhag i 
iomadh soiridh slan is beannachd as a deigh. Slkn leibh, a 
mhuinntir mo ghraidh, tha solus-iuil air sgeir as eol domh, 
agus Siar air sin tha mo dhachaidh. Slan leibh, a mhuinntir 
mo ghraidh, ri traghadh 's ri lionadh, 's am fear a leanadh 
mise gabhadh e aiseag nan tonn. 

Hiamh o'n oidhche sin, tha suil na h-6ige agus cridhe na 
h-aoise a' sireadh Siar — ma tha no nach 'eil an solus-iuil 
fathast air an sgeir. 

Shuidh mi air creig an oir a' chladaich, ann an stiil na 
grdine, a dh' 61 mo leoir de 'n Cheitein. Air mo chulaibh, 
anns a' ghleann, bha na h-uain a' m^ilich 's na laoigh s! 
geumraich ; air mo bheulaibh, bha na h-eoin a' neadachadh 
an tiurr na feamann, bha long a' fuaradh an rudha, bha 
balachan bkn a' ruideis air an traigh 's a' tilgeadh choilleag 
air na faoileannan a bha sgiathagraich ris na tonnan. * 'lUe 
^^ig/ ghlaodh mi ris, 'tha do sheanair feadh nan caorach, 


s do mhathair anns a bhuaile, 's nach b'abhacas do n 
bhaJachan bhi measg nan uan 's nan laogh ! ' 'Is docha 
leam bhi cleasachd ris na faoileannan,' ars' esan, ' bhuail 
mi naoi diubh cheana, 's tha mi feuchainn ri tri eiJe 
bhualadh mus toir an rudha am bata diom.' * 'Ille bhig, 'ille 
bhig/ — ach cha b'ann ris-san 'na aonar bha mi bruidhinn — 
* tha t'athair 'na laighe an aigeal a' chuain, 's cha 'n 'eil 
bodha shir no sheachainn ainm eadar so agus Rocabarraidh ^ 
nach bu leaba- bais uair no uaireigin do na daoine o'n tainig 
thu, agus is mor m' amharus, mur dean am Freasdal fein a 
chaochladh, nach ann ris an uaigh, ach ris a' chuan, a ta 
thusa 's do leithid a fas/ ' Is e cron m' fhais a mhaillead/ 
ars' esan ; * ach tha 'n reabhairt 'san f hannadh, 's an teis- 
mheadhon na contraigh bheir mi leam a 'gheolag, 's ni mi 'n 
Sgeir Bhreac dheth.' ' Seadh, a laochain, a dh' fhaicinn an 
ruic a chuir an suaineadh-bais mu dha chois do bhrathar.' 
Ach cha b' ann air m' f hacail a bha 'aire. ' An teis-mheadhon 
na contraigh,' ars' esan, ' bidh rbin a' chaolais gu leir cruinn 
comhla air an Sgeir Bhric, a' gusgal a' chiuil sin a dh' ionn- 
saich iad o chionn fhada ann an Lochlainn, mus do chuir am 
muime na truaghain fo na geasa. Chuala mi an cuid phort 
aig mo sheanair, ach b' fhearr leam gu mor an cluinntinn o 
'm beoil fein.' * Seadh, seadh, a laochain, 's theid mi an urras 
nach i an Sgeir Bhreac as ceann-uidhe dhuit an deireadh 
sge6il.' * Cha'n i, le 'r cead ; ma bhios mi am ghilJe maith 's 
nach bathar mi a' cleasachd ris na faoileannan, gheabh mi 
'san sgoth mh6ir an ath uair a theid i air skil ; an taobh thall 
de 'n rudha tha 'n Traigh Bkn far am bi a' mhaighdean-mhara 
'ga failceadh fein, 's an uamh mhor far am bi i ag itheadh nam 
morair;^ 's nam faighinn fein treis air an stiuir, rad nach 
dual gu faigh, ruiginn an geodha nas fhaide shios, far a bheil 
or na Spainte am falach 's an taibhse caol dubh 'ga dhion.' 
' Seadh, seadh, a bhobain ghaolaich, 's cha 'n fhada gus am bi 
an sgoth 'na lan-luing, le stiuir 5ir is tri chroinn airgid, 's an 
Cuan Siar fo 'sroin ! Bha uair agus b' e51ach mise air a' 

^ Eilean-sge6il eadar Uibhist is Barraidh agus Tir-nan-Og. 

* lasg beag boidheach dearg air a bheil a' mhaighdean-mhara ro-dheigheil. 



cheart luing sin ; is iomadh sgeul thug mi as a croinn, 's cha 
robh slat no calpa, achlais no aisinn dith, air nach cuirinn 
ainm. An Cuan Siar ! an Cuan Siar I b' e 'n taladh- sithe a 
gkir I te6ghaidh a' ghrian fein g'a h-ionnsaidh 'san f heasgar, 's 
mus 'eil reabhairt nan eun ^ na h-kirde, tha bruadar na h-oige 
air an iteig chum a doimhne siogaidhe.^ Ach O ! 'ille bhig, 

411e bhig .' Thuit coilleag eile am measg nam faoileann. 

* Tri eile ! ' ars' esan gu moiteil, ' 's cha tug an rudha am bkta 
diom fhathast ! ' 

Is fhada bhios cuimhne air an oidhche ud. Tha a sgeul 
sgriobhta an iomadh cluaineig 's an iomadh tobhtaidh an cois 
na mara, is anns na laithean nach tainig innsidh fear le moit 
gu n d' rugadh e Feill-Brighde nan seachd sian. Cha b' e an 
eiginn ach an t-ailghis a chuir o thigh mi fein an oidhche sin, 
's na'n toireadh toil dhachaidh mi, cha b' ann a muigh fo 
sgath creige a bhithinn gu h-ainn an la. Ach bu shaor an 
ceannach na dh' f huiling air na chunnaic mi ; mur do thuig 
mi riamh roimhe uamhas nan dtil is iad air bhoile, dh' f hairich 
is thuig a nis. Bha gach sgal gaoithe a thigeadh a sior dhol 
an cruaithead, gus mu dheireadh am b' aon sgal an doineann 
gu leir 's i air fior bharr a comais. 'S mar a chuireas damh le 
bheucail damh eile gu bilirich, dhtiisg an fhairge fo dhiibhlan 
na gaoithe ; dh' at is f hrion is still i an aodann a buaireadair, 
's 'nuair nach fhaigheadh i greim oirre dhioghail i air an neo- 
chiontach e, 's le leum-roid shlachdraich i i fein an aghaidh 
nan creag. Leis a! ghaoir 's leis an stairn chaidh mo cheann 
'na bhreislich, 's 'nuair a chunnaic mi na dealanaich ri falach- 
fead anns an dorchadas, ar leam gu'm bu sradagan teine iad 
a armaibh nan gaisgeach a bha garbh-chomhraig ri cheile ; 's 
ma bha tkirneanaich an lorg an teine, bha iad fein 's an 
doineann air an aon ghleus 's cha chomharaichte o cheile iad. 
Ach ge b' fhada dubh an oidhche, thainig crioch oirre mu 
dheireadh, 's cho luath 's a stiuirinn mo cheum 's a chead- 

^ Theirear reabhairt nan eun ri lain arda an earraichj anns an tiurr a dh' fhaga 
iad sin as an deigh, is ro-thoigh leis na h-eoin a bhi neadachadh. 
2 Taladh nathrach air an eun. 


aicheadh an doineann sin domh, thog mi orm gu balle. Air 
an rathad de b' iongantaiche learn na boireannach fhaicinn 
'na criiban air torr staimh, siaban nan tonn a' stealladh 
thairte, 's i f^sgadh a bas mar the an dubh-bhr6n. * A bhean, 
a bhean/ ghlaodh mi rithe, ' is olc an ceann-uidhe taobh na 
mara ri an-uair.' * Seadh, a choigrich/ ars' ise, *ach nach 
maith a chas air tir ; bha m' aona-mhac air bh^rr nan tonn a 
raoir, 's aig Kigh nan Dili tha brath ciod a ch^ramh an diugh. 
Is mairg a dh' earbadh a chuid no dhuine ris a' chuan — bha i 
riamh gun iochd gun truas — 's bha manadh a bhathaidh air- 
san co-dhiu. 'Nuair a bhiodh giollain eile a' breacladh 'san 
allt no ag eunadaireachd anns a' chreig, b' e chluich-san a 
bhi cleasachd ris na tonnan 's ris na faoileannan. 'S gu cinn- 
teach cha b' e cion rabhaidh a chuir gu muir e. Chaill e 
'athair 's chaill e bhrkthair le dosgainn-mhara, is b' ainneamh 
riamh bks a' chinn-adhairt a measg nan daoine o 'n tainig e. 
Ach nach aimideach mise ! gus an deanar siigan de ghain- 
mhich na traghad, cha chuirear teadhair air fuil na marachd 
's i 6g.' Leis a so dh' eirich i 'na seasamh, chrath i an s^l as 
a h-aodach, chuir i a h-aghaidh air baile. Chunnaic i mkileid 
'san tiiirr — am prioba na siila, bha sid a mach aic' air bkrr an 
t-skile. * Biodh sid aice comhla ris a' ch5rr/ ars' ise, * an 
duine 's a chuid maraon.' Chunnaic i duilleag de 'n Bhioball 
ga luasgadh anns a' ghaoith — chrom i 's chuir i sid 'na broil - 
leach. * Sith gu'n d'fhuair an lamb a rug 's an t-siiil a leugh.' 
Chunnaic i dealbh an sgor creige — chuir i sid ri taobh na 
duilleige. * Bha dealbh aig mo mhac-sa cuideachd, niur a 
robh a dhk — na leigeadh Dia gu bheil mathair eile 'gan togail 
air cladach-cein an diugh ! ' 

Mo thruaighe ! mo thruaighe ! ge blath anail na m^thar 
's ge Ian tataidh a guth, breugnaichidh an Cuan Siar a h-aona- 
mhac uaipe, a' cur ionndrainn 'na chridhe nach muchar le 
faoil na dachaidh no le gaol nam ban. 

* Le 'r cead,' ars' esan, 's e 'na shuidhe ri taobh an rathaid, 
a' leigeadh a sgios, ' mur cuir mi dragh air 'ur n- inntinn no 
maille 'nur ceum, b' fhior thoigh leam an aon-fhalbh a bhi 



againn.' *Ro-mhaith, a charaid,' area mi fein, *is mothaid a' 

chuideachd, is lughaid an rathad e, 's tha aithne gun 

chuimhne agam ort co-dhiu.' ' Is ckraid sinn anns a' chuis/ 
ars' esan, * ach is eagal learn gu bheil siubhal iomadh latha 's 
bliadhna cur nan eolach as mo chuimhne/ Dh' innis e dhomh 
an sin an liuthad cuan a sheol e 's an liuthad clad ach a bhuail 
e, an t5ir air an fhortan — ' 'S ged nach do thog mi fa.thast e', 
ars' esan, * thig mo latha gun teagamh, ma bhios mi fein fur- 
achail 's am Freasdal deonach.' Anns an fhacal, thog an ceo 
bharr nam beann ; chuir rughadh na greine trian ri ailleachd 
a' ghlinne ; theo mo chridhe ri mo dhuthaich fein, 's b' ann 
de m' ioghnadh gu'n smaointicheadh duine cneasda sam bith 
air a fagail. An l^rach nam bonn, bha smuain mo chridhe 
'na bheul-san. 'An dachaidh, an dachaidh,' ars' esan, *cha 
dhuine duine as a h-aonais ; ach cha robh taobh an teine 
riamh aig a bhlaths gus an tigeadh am feasgar, 's am biodh 
an coigreach Ian -sgith de shiubhal cein 's de dh' allaban. Air 
mo shon fein, cha d' fhuair mi mo leoir fathast de na soluis 's 
de na bailtean 's de na beanntan gorma ta fad air falbh ; 's 
ma tha no nach 'eil mi aimideach, is e mo lan-duil, mus 
miosaich an t- Earrach 's mus tig an ra-dorcha air a' ghealaich, 
a bhi aon uair eile air luing, a' sebladh gus na dtithchannan 

An fhuil ! an f huil ! smaointich mi annam fein ; cha d' 
fhuaraich tri mile bliadhn' i ; cuiridh i fathast an cridhe gu 
h- ionndrainn 's a' chas gu siubhal, 's ni i an da ni cho dian : 
iarraidh na maidne gu falbh agus iarraidh an fheasgair gu 

Cha robh ann ach tigh-tughaidh, ach b' fhada shiubhladh 
tu mus faiceadh tu a leithid eile. Thug monadh is coille 
seasgaireachd dha, sruthan ceol-gaire, fosgladh an iochdar a' 
ghlinne sealladh-mara, 's na'n iarradh an righ na b' fhearr, bu 
mhotha mhiann na chomas. Bha fear-an-tighe 'na shuidhe 
air geolaidh, 's a beul foidhpe, e uair a' sniomh siomain, 
's da uair a' briodal ri chuid leanaban 's iad a' ruideis 

mu chasan. *Cha teid i so tuiUeadh gu muir,' thuirt 


mi ris, 's mi cur mo choise air druim a' bhata. * Cha teid 
i fein no a stiuireamaiche tuilleadh gu muir,' ars' esan. 
* Seadh, seadh, a charaid, " Ge b'e dh' aiticheas an talamh, 
cha d' fhag i falamh riamh e." ' ' Cha d' fhag buileach, 
co-dhiu/ ars' esan ; * air a miosad is fhearr atharnach an 
fhearainn na atharnach nan tonn. B' og a dh' earb mise mo 
chuid 's mo bheatha ris a' chuan, 's thug i dhiom trian de m' 
bheatha, 's mo chuid gu leir. Ach fhuair i na gheabh i de 
m' chuid, 's mur d^na dhomh radh ! de m' dhuine. Chir mo 
mhathair, 's i 'na bantraich, fait liath iomadh bliadhna roimh- 
mhithich leis a' bhron-mhara ; 's na leigeadh Dia gu'n cuir 
mac dhomhsa gu brath cas air clkr luinge, 's a h-aghaidh ri 
muir. Cha'n urrainn nach 'eil an Droch Shuil aig a' Chuan 
Shiar ! chuir i a cuid draoitheachd ormsa o'n chiad latha thog 
mi coilleag 'san traigh, 's cha mhor nach robh mi buileach fo 
'sm^ig, corp is anam, an deireadh sgeoil. Ach latha bh' ann, 
s' b' e lath' an aigh dhomhsa e, rinn gaol mnatha seun domh, 
's tha mi nis saor gu brath o sgleb 's o gheasa na Doimhne.' 
Thug e suil bhlath air a chuid leanaban, is las 'aodann le 
teas-ghradh athar. ' Nach buidhe dhomhsa mo charamh an 
diugh ! ' ars' esan — * na laoigh a' geumraich, na h-uain a' 
meilich, mo choimhleabach anns a' bhuaile, mo chuid cloinne 
mu m' dh^ ghliiin, 's gun mi ach ceum o 'n dachaidh. 'S 
'nuair dhimas mi 'n dorus am beul na h-oidhche, ma thig gkir 
na mara a steach, cha'n ann mar ghlaodh bais am chluais, ach 
mar thkladh muime a' cur mo chuid leanaban 'nan suain. 
Nach buidhe dhomhsa mo chas air tir ! ' 

Och ! och ! an deachaidh an solus as air an Sgeir as eol 
duinn? A bheil Binne-bheul 'na tosd? 's an do sguir an 
ce61 a bha taladh nam fear thar aiseag nan tonn ? 

* An Dan 's an Cuan ! ' ars' esan, 's e air tachairt rium 
anns a' chladach air feasgar fann foghair, 'an Dkn 's an 
Cuan ! an Dkn 's an Cuan ! is ionnan an da ni — bheir iad le 
cheile an cuid fein a mach. Bha mise, 's mi am dhallaran 
truagh, an diiil gu robh mi fein 's mo chuid cloinne saor gu 
brath o dhraoitheachd na Doimhne, ach cha robh 's cha bhi 



fear de m* dhaoine. Ged a thuinichinn an teis-mheadhon na 
h-Eorpa, gheabhadh mo leanabain lorg na lacha chon a' chuain 
— 's tha dithis dhiubh nis ('s gu cinn teach cha'n ann air an 
aineol !) 'san Tir-fo-thuinn. 'S ged nacb cbir do f hear m'aoise 
a radh, cha'n f haic mi fein se51 air cuan nach iarrainn bhi air 
an stiuir, s luimein maith gaoithe am leth-cheann.' ' Seadh, 
a charaid, ach nach maith a' chas air tir, gu sonraichte am 
brkigh a ghUnne ! — crodh is caoirich air an raon, brie anns an 
allt, earbag no dhk anns sJ choille ! ' ^ Cha chiim/ ars' esan, 
'crodh no caoirich, breac no earbag, fuil na marachd o 'n 
chuan — 's Dia thoirt maitheanais domh ! cha chiim no gaol 
nam ban.' Bha ghrian nis a' dol fodha ; bha cuan an lionaidh 
a' cniadachadh feamainn a' chladaich, 's bha feamainn a' 
chladaich a' dol air mhire 's air rughadh mar mhaighdean a 
ph6gar. * An Cuan Siar ! an Cuan Siar ! ' ars' esan, 's e air 
bhoile le gaol nach gabhadh muchadh, ach a bha mar an 
lasair ag iarraidh nan speur, ' an Cuan Siar ! an Cuan Siar ! 
thug i dhiom mo chuid 's mo dhuine uair is uair, ach m' 
eudail a traghadh 's a lionadh, 's a gair 'san f heasgar. Bas a' 
chinn-adhairt is reilig na cille, cha b' iad mo roghainn — tiir 
dhubh 'gad thachdadh — cnuimheagan 'gad tholladh — gun 
chreutair beo ri d' thaobh a chumas sgios no fadal dhiot. 
Cha 'n ionnan 's an cuan — i plosgadh le beatha a latha 's a 
dh' oidhche, 's i cho uirsgeulach lasgarra. Is comunn na feile 
shios agus shuas ! Ron is eala is maighdean-mhara ! Faoileann 
bhan is cathan is sulaire 1 'S na lachain ! — lacha bheag, lacha 
mhor, lacha-stiurach, lacli a' chinn uaine — 's bias na meala 
air gach ainm diubh ! An Cuan Siar ! an Cuan Siar ! a Dhia, 
'se 'n cuan i ! — ceann-uidhe mo dhaoine am beatha 's am bks 
— fuil na marachd, eadhon an craiceann na h-aoise, a' sior- 
ospagaich g'a h-ionnsaidh.' 


DoMiNicK Daly 

In an early number of the Celtic Review there appeared an 
article on the famous metrical Latin composition written in 
the middle of the sixth century by St. Brendan (or Brandon), 
* The Navigator/ in his monastery at Clonfert, Kerry, where 
he ruled over a great industrial community of three thousand 
monks. It was then submitted that the * Navigator's ' 
account of his seven vears' Atlantic adventures was — in fact 
and intention — only a sort of pious romance designed for 
popular entertainment and edification, but intermixed with 
myths, traditions, and reports current amongst the maritime 
Celts of Western Europe, especially the Irish and Bretons. 
Taking the narrative in conjunction with supplementary 
information supplied by such learned investigators as the 
author of Alt-Bretonische My then, it is made quite obvious 
that those Celts had a fixed belief — correct in fact, however 
arrived at — in the existence of transatlantic lands, and of 
attempts having been made to reach them. Those myths, 
as a mass, were confused, inharmonious, contradictory and 
sometimes fabulous — all of which is not to be wondered at, 
considering the intellectual condition of the age in which 
they arose or were current. 

Two transatlantic voyages, at least, are indicated more 
or less specifically, one by a company of sixty sailor monks in 
either one or three wooden ships ; the other by fifteen such 
monks in a hide-covered sailing boat. Some versions give 
the command of one or both expeditions to St. Brendan, 
others bring in the Breton St. Maclovis as associated with 
him. One of the objects of those excursions was apparently 
the finding of the abiding-place of a certain mysterious 
Mernoc, who was reputed to have established a monastic 
retreat in some remote tropical island of the Atlantic. St. 
Byrenthus, the godfather of Mernoc, by his tearful supplica- 

VOL. V. s 


tions, persuaded St. Brendan to go in search of this godson, 
in the hide-covered boat which is so particularly described 
in Brendan's poem. St. Maclovis, too, is represented as 
taking an interest in the quest for Mernoc, his objective point 
being named as the island of * Yma.' He, however, failed in 
finding the singularly named island, notwithstanding the 
assistance he received from a pagan giant named ' Mildu,' 
who resided in one of the islands visited, and who was 
properly grateful to the saint for having raised him from the 
dead and baptized him. 

Here it may be noted that St. Maclovis (like St. Brendan) 
was a real historical personage, having a place in the Calendar 
under the Latinised name of ' Maclutus ' — ' Maclovis ' being 
an Irish variation of the name. In Brittany he was best 
known as St. Malo, and the important seaport town of that 
name was called after him. He had been educated and 
ordained in Ireland — then a famous educational and ecclesi- 
astical centre — and was for years a friend and co-worker with 
St. Brendan. 

Although the search for the vanished Mernoc seems to 
have been a matter of great interest to Brendan and Maclovis 
and their brethren, the myths supply little information about 
him. The name is clearly Breton, or Welsh, as one may 
infer ; but nothing is said as to who he was, where he sailed 
from, the circumstances of his out-going, and what subse- 
quently befell him and his companions. It can only be 
gathered that he was believed to have established a monastic 
retreat, isolated from the dangers and temptations of a sinful 
world, in some far-distant island. It is, perhaps, a permissible 
conjecture that it was he who conducted the expedition of 
sixty monks to such an island, and that the vague and 
fragmentary myths confuse this with subsequent voyages by 
Brendan and Maclovis. It does not seem reasonable that 
the latter should take with them such a large number of 
monks on what appear to have been voyages of mere dis- 
covery or search, unassociated with any intention of settle- 
ment or colonisation. 


However, as Mernoc was not found, and never again heard 
of, the presumption would naturally be that he and his fifty- 
nine fellow-monks died out in the course of time in their 
insular seclusion without leaving successors to perpetuate 
their memory.^ But quite recently some remarkable dis- 
closures have been fortuitously made which seem to have a 
distinct bearing on the Mernoc Myth. The literary industry of 
Sir Clements Markham has brought to light the existence and 
contents of an old and curious Spanish book, published in 1594, 
treating on the Guanches, or aboriginal natives, of Tenerife, 
the author being a friar of the name of Alfonso de Espinosa.^ 
The cause of the book having been written was this : — 

For many years there had been in Tenerife a famous, 
miraculous wooden image, about three and a half feet high, 
of the Virgin and Child, celebrated far and wide amongst 
Spanish Catholics as having wrought many wonderful cures, 
and conferred great benefits on its devotees. The fame of 
this image so impressed Father Espinosa (then stationed in 
Guatemala, South America) that he came to Tenerife for the 
express purpose of devoting himself to the service of this 
wonderful * Virgin of the Candelaria ' — so called because the 
burning of candles at her shrine was esteemed an appropriate 
form of reverence, inasmuch as the hand of the Child had a 
receptacle for holding a candle. Having thoroughly investi- 
gated the history of the image, and satisfied himself of its 
divine origin and miraculous powers, the worthy friar sat 
down and commenced the writing of the book, which was 
published, as aforesaid, in the year 1594, under the title of 
Del Origen y Milagros de la Santa Imagen de Niiestra 
Senora de Candelaria, etc. (The Origin and Miracles of the 
Holy Image of Our Lady of the Candelaria). 

It is not necessary for the present purpose to go into the 
details of this curious old book to any great extent ; but it 

1 See Tennyson's * Voyage of Maeldune ; founded on an Irish legend, a.d. 700,' 
Stanza xi. 

2 A copy of the book is in the British Museum. The translation of the work by 
Espinosa on Tenerife and Our Lady of Candelaria forms a recent volume of the series 
of the Hakluyt Society, edited by Sir Clements Markham, the President (1906). 



may be said, generally, that it shows the author to have 
been very painstaking and earnest, but of such an abounding 
simplicity of piety and faith that he sees miracles everywhere 
and in everything, and always prefers a miraculous solution 
of a problem to a commonplace one, however obvious. Bear- 
ing in mind this tendency of his, one may accept the book as 
presenting faithfully the account the Guanches gave him of 
what they knew about the image, which the earliest European 
visitants found in possession of a tribe or family of Guanches 
occupying the district of Gumar, on the eastern side of 
Tenerife, south of the present city of Santa Cruz. 

These natives told Espinosa (who had established most 
friendly relations with them) that at a very remote time 
in the past their forefathers had found the image standing 
upright on a flat stone in a cavern or grotto near the coast, 
which is here very dry and sandy. For hundreds of years 
it had been regarded with reverence by the Guanches, and 
carefully preserved by them, because it was believed to 
insure good fortune to its possessors. That was all those 
benighted pagans knew about it ; but when the enlightened 
Spaniards came on the scene they soon discovered that it 
was a miraculous image which had descended direct from 
heaven. Espinosa zealously supports this view, and repels 
(almost with indignation) the possibility of any contrary or 
alternative theory. He will not, for instance, have it that 
the image might have belonged to some shipwrecked vessel 
— its fresh and undamaged condition was opposed to any 
such idea — and, besides, there was the high improbability of 
an object of the kind being afloat in the western ocean at so 
early an epoch as that of its finding, or of being cast up 
from the sea in the position in which it was found by the 
Guanches of Gumar. 

This is the tone and temper of the book throughout — 
the image and the innumerable miracles it wrought being its 
theme from first to last. But its interest (in the present 
connection) lies in its incidental references to the natives and 
their traditions. These were very secondary matters with 


Espinosa, and his rendering of them is all the more valuable 
on that account, because he was not interested enough in 
them to be led into the temptation of misrepresenting them, 
consciously or unconsciously. He may therefore be credited 
with good faith, at least in his repetition of the old legends 
which the Guanches narrated to him. 

Here is an extract from Chapter iv. page 16 of his book, 
which I think it is desirable to give in the original as well 
as in translation : — 

* Los naturales Guanches viejos dizd que tiene noticia de 
inmemorable tiepo, que vinieron a esta Isla sesenta personas, 
mas no saben de donde, y se juntaron y hizieron su habi- 
tacion junto a Icode, que es un lugar desta Isla, y el lugar 
de su morada llamanan en su lengua : Alzanxiquian ahcana- 
hac xerax, que quiere dezir : Lugar del ayuntamiento del 
hijos del grande.' [' The old native Guanches say that they 
knew from immemorial tradition that there came to this 
island (Tenerife) sixty people, but where from they did not 
know, and they united and made habitation near Icod, which 
is a place on this island, and they called it so, as meaning 
(in their language) the place of the union of the sons of the 
Great One.'] 

Icod is a place on the other, or western, side of Tenerife 
from Gumar. 

Father Espinosa was apparently not struck with any idea 
of a possible connection between the foreign religious com- 
munity of sixty established at Icod in bygone days (according 
to the legend), and the presence of the holy image at Gumar 
only some sixteen or seventeen miles away in a straight line 
across the hills. He was so completely absorbed in the con- 
viction of the divine origin of the image that his mind was 
closed against all speculation on the subject. 

In the same chapter he mentions another tradition of the 
Guanches relating to a religious preacher who had once been 
amongst them in very remote times. Espinosa insists that 
this preacher was a bishop sent by inspiration of the Apostles 



(presumably in heaven), and he says his name is given in 
a certain ' Kalanda/ from which he quotes an extract. Here 
again I think it desirable to quote directly from the book : — 
* Es fama que los Apostoles embiaron a ellos a predicar la Fe 
un Obispo, cuyo nombre me han prometido dezir. ... Y la 
Kalenda lo dize por estas palabras : *' Fortunatse insulse sex 
numero. ..." [description of situation and names of the six 
Canary Islands]. " Hie Blandanus magnse abstinentise vir ex 
Scotia, pater trium millium monachorum : cum beato Maclunio 
has insulas septenio perlustrat : Hie dictus Maclouius gigan- 
tem mortuum suscitat : qui baptizatus Judeorum ac Pagano- 
rum penas refert : et paulo post intervallum moritur, tempore 
Justiniani Imperatoris." ' 

This indifferent and disjointed composition, with its 
obvious errors and omissions, may be subjected to the follow- 
ing free and explanatory rendering : — 

' In these islands [Canary] was Brendan, a very austere 
man from Scotia [one of the ancient names for Ireland], who 
was the father or pastor of three thousand monks [at Clonfert] 
from which he was absent seven years, with him the blessed 
Maclovis who raised a giant [named * Mildu ' in the Celtic 
myths] from the dead and baptized him, and he [the giant] 
told of the tortures inflicted [in hell] on Jews and Pagans, 
and a little time afterwards he again died, and this was in the 
time of the Emperor Justinian [i.e. middle of sixth century].' 
The defects of the Latin quotation may be due to careless 
copying by Espinosa, for in addition to such obvious mistakes 
as ' Blandanus ' for ' Brandanus,' ' Maclunio ' and ' Maclouius ' 
for * Maclovis,' other faults may be suspected which a reference 
to the original might disclose. But, after much trouble, I 
have been unable to trace the ' Kalenda ' mentioned by 
Espinosa. Even as the quotation stands it is highly interest- 
ing and important, as giving, for the first time, a name and 
a geographical position to the islands of the Brendanian 
legend and the myths relating to Maclovis and his perform- 
ances and adventures. 

The Guanches' account of the establishment of the sixty 


' sons of the Great One ' at Icod is in striking harmony with 
the whole story of Mernoc. Had Espinosa ever heard of 
Mernoc, and been aware of this curious coincidence, he might 
possibly have been less insistent than he was on the image 
having been placed in the grotto by angelic hands, though he 
would probably have remained convinced of its heavenly 
creation and miraculous powers. He found additional evid- 
ence of such creation in its perfection of form, the freshness 
and beauty of its colours and gilding, and particularly in the 
many mysterious words inscribed on various parts of it in 
Latin letters of gold. These he reproduces in his book as 
follows : — 







I suppose it is impossible (as Espinosa found it) to make 
anything out of those groups of letters, though (assuming them 
to be some kind of archaic Latin) a wild guess might be made 
at a meaning here and there. For instance, the word * Irenini ' 
might mean ' people of Irene ' — an ancient name from which 
the modern name ' Ireland ' is derived. No such meaning 
might have been intended, but it would be likely enough if 
the Guanches' legend of the existence of a religious community 
(presumably Christian) at Icod were reliable. And that, too, 
would sufficiently account for the presence of the image in the 
grotto at Gumar ; for it might very well have been brought 
there for some pious purpose by monks from Icod, or it might 
be a solitary relic for their monastery there, which had found 
its way through native agency across the island to the 
Gumar grotto in the course of the long ages which followed 
the dying out of the monks. 

Nor is it necessary to assume a miraculous cause for the 
condition of pristine freshness in which, it is alleged, the 
image was found. In Egypt, with a like dry and uniform 



climate, similar objects have been preserved for thousands of 
years as bright and fresh in appearance as on the day when 
they passed from the hands of the painter and gilder. As to 
the alleged artistic carving and decorations of the image 
there is no need to dwell upon the ability of the monks of old 
to produce, in the seclusion of their monasteries, excellent 
and unsurpassed works of such a description. 

It may here be pointed out that one of the islands said 
(in the * Legend') to have been visited by St. Brendan he 
called the ' Island of Goats,' from the number of those animals 
he saw there. He describes it as an enormous rocky moun- 
tain rising abruptly from the sea, and so steep that he sailed 
about it for three days before finding a landing-place. This 
is quite descriptive of Tenerife. The aborigines were mainly 
dependent for their sustenance on goats' milk and flesh, and 
used the skins for clothing and other purposes, including 
manifold wrappings for the mummified remains of their dead. 
It is still * an island of goats,' though the present inhabitants 
are less dependent on that animal than their predecessors. It 
looks as if * del chievre oil de St. Brendan ' (in the words of 
the old Breton ^ lai ') was not wholly imaginary, but that the 
saint had knowledge of it, direct or indirect, but certainly 

The disclosures furnished by Father de Espinosa's book (for 
which we are indebted to Sir Clements Markham) are, I think, 
of importance, and certainly interesting to all students of the 
Brendanian legend and its associated myths. They carry 
these much beyond the point where they ended when they 
engaged the attention of such eminent critics as Jubinal, 
Michel, von Schroder, Goeje, Wright, etc. They at least 
offer a plausible sequel and conclusion to a set of legendary 
myths which have invoked the speculations of learned anti- 
quarians for centuries ; and it is certain that had they been 
known earlier they would have received that serious attention 
from the above writers which they are bound to have from any 
future writers on the subject. 



The death of Micheal Breathnach, Principal of the Connacht Training 
College, is very deeply lamented by Gaelic workers everywhere. Intensity 
is added to the sorrow at the loss by the fact that he was in his young 
manhood, and equipped in no ordinary degree with every quality and 
accomplishment most necessary for a teacher and leader in our national 
revival movement. Ireland has many ardent advocates, but living in a 
world where opposition and scorn and ridicule are daily to be contended 
with, many of the worthiest and most learned have, of necessity, acquired 
the stern qualities of combatants and pioneers. 

I have been wondering how it came that Micheal, living in the same 
environment as others, retained to the very end an unsullied radiance and 
sweetness of temper, that hopefulness and ardour should still warm his heart 
even when he was passing under the shadow of death. 

I think I can understand, for in this Irish movement I have met some 
few, though far too few, of whom the same could be said. It was because 
there was something in his personality and character which silenced opposi- 
tion, and changed opponents into fellow-workers. 

I give some extracts from an article in The Peasant, written by one who 
knew him intimately: — 

* One evening in his early period as an organiser of the Gaelic League, 
Tomas Concannon was walking along the Cois Fhairrge Road, between 
Galway and Spiddal. The old road by the sea is a noted highway in 
Gaeldom, but it takes some time to appreciate it. All the winds of Connacht 
seem to concentrate thereon, at intervals, and they seem determined to 
freeze the bones and the heart of the stranger to the locality. It takes a 
good deal to cloud the spirit of Tomas Concannon ; but that chilly evening 
he had come to the conclusion that Cois Fhairrge was a poor place compared 
with his native Aran. Passing through Lochan Beag, near Spiddal, he met 
a genial, bright-faced boy, whom he saluted, of course in Irish. The boy 
answered in a rill of Irish that charmed the heart of Tomas. There was a 
rare seanchus between the twain on the old roadside. No, the boy had not 
heard of the Gaelic League, and it struck him as curious that there was any 
need for a society to preserve Irish, Why, around Lochan Beag, where the 
old folk met and told the great Fenian tales, and sang the immemorial 
songs in the genial night, there was Irish enough to last till the Day of 
Judgment. He described the nights and the gala gatherings with such glow 
and raciness that Tomas began to think that Fionn and Oisin and all the 
Fianna were still living in Cois Fhairrge. The boy, he found, was a 
monitor in the local school, but already he had composed lyrics go leor, was 
a sgeuluidhe and a seanchaidhe and a walking embodiment of the lore of the 
Irish ages in Cois Fhairrge. The boy was Micheal Breathnach. What 
Tomas had told him of the new work for Irish ideas beyond Cois Fhairrge 



was not lost on him, gave him in fact a new outlook on Ireland, a new 
interest in the Irish lore in which Cois Fhairrge abounded. Then, early in 
the new century, the London Gaelic League, being determined to widen its 
field of work, wanted an assistant secretary, racy of the soil, one who was a 
Gaelic expert in every way. Micheal obtained the post — Seaghan O'Cathain, 
who was then secretary, declared that the Irish letter in which he applied for 
it was literature. He went straight to London. At first he saw only the 
glow and not the pathos of Irish life in London. The whole order of things 
was delightfully suggestive of the new spirit aroused by the language move- 
ment. The London League worked over an area some fifteen or twenty miles 
long by more than ten broad, so it had both variety and spaciousness. 
Micheal entered promptly into the spirit of it all, having his fill of language 
teaching, going from a seanchus in one sphere to a ceilidh in another, 
hurrying to take his part in an Irish play in a third, and doing duty as a 
singer, story-teller, reciter and Irish orator, as occasion demanded. When 
he had time he studied French and Latin and wrote Irish poetry. To the 
general Gael Micheal is known as a story-teller for shorter flights that took 
Oireachtas prizes, and for his translation of Kickham's Knocknagow. This 
is still running serially in An Claidheamhj and the first part appeared a 
couple of years ago in book form. It is a very curious contrast to his 
sensation novel. 

'We have mentioned his Oireachtas prizes. Far and away the most 
important of all was for a History of Ireland. This was won over four 
years ago. It is a voluminous work, treating of Irish fate and fortunes 
from early times to our own. It was penned, unknown to almost every- 
body, in quiet nights after the stress of all sorts of Gaelic League work. 
There has been much and very regrettable delay in regard to it, and it was 
only last month that the Publication Committee of the Gaelic League was 
able to arrange definitely for its issue. It will now have a new and touching 
interest for readers in Gaeldom. 

'Early in 1905 Micheal, to the intense regret of all who knew him, was 
stricken for a period by a severe illness, and when he rallied he turned to 
Connacht again. He was appointed Principal of the Connacht Training 
College at Tourmakeady, and there through happy summer months he 
carried out a really Irish education course under well-nigh ideal conditions. 
Amongst his pupils the first session were a young Gaelic poet, a folk-lore col- 
lector, who had gathered a hundred and fifty wonder-stories from the people in 
Mayo, half a dozen schoolmasters, and sundry buachailli and cailini full of the 
spirit of New Ireland. When teaching was over they went a-boating and 
a-singing on Lough Mask, thus gaily rounding culture with gaiety. For a 
period, too, that same year Micheal acted as Professor of Irish at St. 
Jarlath's College, Tuam. Unhappily his health gave way again, and a trip 
to the Continent was thought advisable. Each succeeding winter he was 
obliged to spend abroad, returning at the beginning of the summer to take 
up the work of the college, which grew and prospered under him. 


*He made the Connacht College, by the shore of Loch Mask, an 
institution which was a credit and a joy. He and it were beloved by the 
students, and the tributes paid this summer to his work and method by 
Continental litterateurs, who were there for a period, were unreservedly 
and whole-heartedly enthusiastic. However, it is with his gracious and 
most winning personality that the memory of those who knew and worked 
with him will specially and lovingly dwell. It was an irony and, as it 
proved, a tragedy that his first years of serious work after leaving his native 
village were spent in London, though amongst Gaels. They ought to have 
been spent in the capital of Connacht or of Ireland ; and so they would 
have been if Ireland were normal and appreciated truly the talents of her' 
own children and realised her own native possibilities. Let us trust that 
the old order is really and deeply changing, and that she is growing saner 
and stronger. 

*Micheal was full of the freshness, the romance, the dreams and the 
blitheness of the Gael. He made Irish teaching almost as interesting as 
poetry. He was master of as many tales and poems as an ancient 
seanchaidhe. He wrote as easily as a river runs to the sea. And he had 
all the charm of the unspoiled Gael to the last.' 

I do not think it possible that any one was ever found to argue to his 
face that the Gaels of Irish-speaking Ireland were an inferior and uncivilised 
race, for in appearance, in speech, in manner, he stood as a proof to the 
contrary. Nor can I think that any one ever taunted or tormented him 
with the assertion that the Irish language was dying and must die. On his 
young lips it was obviously and gloriously alive, and his eyes had in them 
the radiant hope of one who is sure of ultimate triumph. He had that air 
of proud self-confidence which inspires confidence in others, and it is our 
consolation in this time of sorrowing to think that amongst his band of 
pupils and disciples, his example will be for ever remembered and followed. 
We think, too, that amongst the Western Irish-speaking people from whom 
he sprang, there may come from time to time others of his type. 

His memory will endure during the lives of all whom he influenced and 
taught, and the result of his work long beyond that, for it is our trust that 
he is yet to be numbered amongst the preservers of our language, the 
builders of our Nation. Alice Milligan. 


Tlie Making of Ireland and its Undoing, 1200—1600. By Alice Stopford 
Green. Macmillan and Co. Pp. xiii + 511. 

The history of Ireland has suffered more than that of most countries in 
having been written mostly from the point of view of a conquering people 
who differed widely in race, traditions, laws, manners and customs from the 



people whom they overcame. Geoffrey Keating indeed wrote the history of 
Ireland from the inside and in Irish about 1625, but his work was not 
published till 1723, and was then long unknown outside of Irish 

To English eyes the Irish people have ever presented marvellously few 
virtues ; from the twelfth century onwards the English recognised it as a 
sacred duty laid on them to bring that barbarous people to a 'state of 
civility,' to 'make a godly conquest' of them, or in lieu thereof — to certain 
English statesmen a commendable alternative — to ' extirp ' them clean out 
of the land, and plant in the same a goodly Saxon stock. In this view the 
native men of Ireland did not concur. They preferred Gaelic to English ; 
they preferred their own ancient laws and customs to those of the feudal 
system. They were provokingly slow to recognise their uncivil and 
barbarous condition. Strange to say, the great Norman barons who were 
settled in Ireland at the time of the twelfth century conquest came over to 
the Irish point of view, became Irishmen, nay, Hiberniores ipsis Hibernis, more 
Irish than the Irish themselves. They ' not only forgot the English tongue, 
but scorned the use of it.' 

The question naturally arises whether the traditional English view of 
Irish culture in the Middle Ages is to be accepted as final, or admits of 
qualification. One also feels curious to know whether, apart from motives 
of high philanthropy, the English had any substantial advantages in view 
that might serve incidentally to recompense their civilising ardour. Mrs. 
Green's book is an attempt to answer these questions. 

It is an accepted historical fact that Scotland was never more generally 
prosperous than in the century preceding the Wars of Independence, and 
that indeed it was this prosperity, coupled with grit and good leadership, 
that enabled her to withstand the pressing advances of her English 
neighbours, Mrs. Green, in great and convincing detail, points out that 
Ireland enjoyed a similar period of prosperity which reached its height in 
the fifteenth century. It is pointed out that the union of the Danish 
settlers with the native population was followed by a remarkable movement 
in the twelfth century towards an organised national life. Ireland absorbed 
the Danes. Then came the violence of the Norman invasion, but continued 
intercourse produced a new race of ' Ireland men,' zealous for the good and 
self-government of their common home. The fifteenth century Mrs. Green 
regards as a new period of national reconstruction, rich with the promise of 
development. Ireland at this period had an extensive commerce, both 
internal and continental. Her roads and waterways were busy, and her 
harbours all round her coasts frequented. The land was diligently tilled ; 
the pastures were stocked with cattle ; chiefs and others waxed wealthy by 
trade, and the people as a whole enjoyed comfort and plenty. Alongside of 
this went encouragement of art and literature, of which the chiefs were 
generous patrons. The rewards of learning and of skill in mediaeval Ireland 
were not inferior in their way to those enjoyed now by successful novelists 


and writers of plays. Spenser admitted the quality of Irish poetry ; 
convincing specimens of exceeding skill in metal-work are extant. The Irish 
Brehon law was highly developed, and equitable in its operation. There is 
no diflSiculty in showing that Ireland possessed a continental culture. Her 
scholars were well known and respected in Italy, France, and Spain, as in 
Oxford also. A list (incomplete) of translations into Irish from Latin, 
French, Spanish, and English comprises thirty-one works of various 
character. That there was another and a less pleasing side to this fair 
picture is well known. The tribal system was weak on the political side, 
whence the disunion, raids and bickerings which have been represented as 
forming the staple of Irish history. Mrs. Green is aware of this, but her 
business is with the peaceful activities that can be proved to have occupied 
after all the great part of the people's life. 

As to practical motives for the conquest of Ireland, the answer is 
simple. Ireland was a fair and fertile country, with large exports, and 
flourishing commerce, 'a nation and kingdom to transfer into the super- 
fluous multitude of fruitless and idle people here at home daily increasing.' 
The * perfecting' of Ireland involved a deliberate policy to 'exterminate 
and exile the country people of the Irishry,' the only limits to the said 
policy being * the marvellous sumptions charge ' entailed, and the great 
difficulty in face of 'the hardness and misery those Irishmen can endure 
both of hunger, cold, thirst, and evil lodging, and to eat roots and drink 
water continually ' — clear proofs these of their ' uncivil and barbarous ' 
state. If the desired result was not obtained, it was not for want of 
straightforward and practical measures on the part of English statesmen. 
Some of these measures may be noted. Irish trade had long been 
discouraged unsuccessfully by Acts of Parliament. In the times of 
Henry viii. and Elizabeth, however, more efficient measures succeeded in 
choking off the foreign trade and ruining the island industries. In the case 
of the great woollen trade, for instance, it was reasonably urged ' if they 
should manufacture their own wools, which grow to very great quantities, 
we should not only lose the profit we make now by indraping their wools, 
but it might be feared they would beat us out of the trade itself by 
underselling us, which they were well able to do.' Later, in 1633, Strafford 
writes, 'to serve your Majesty completely well ... we must make sure 
still to hold them dependent on the Crown, and not able to subsist without 
us, which will be effected by wholly laying aside the manufacture of wools 
into cloth or stuff there, and by furnishing them from this kingdom, and 
then making your Majesty sole merchant of all salts on that side : for thus 
shall they not only have their clothing [but] the improvement of all their 
native commodities (which are principally preserved by salt) and their 
victual itself from hence . . . and thereby become so dependent upon this 
Crown, as they could not depart from us without nakedness to themselves 
and their children,' Another recommends : ' Take first from them their corn 
so that the Irishry shall not live thereupon ; then to have their cattle and 





beasts, and then shall they be without corn, victual or cattle, and thereof 
shall ensue the putting in effect of all these wars against them.' 

The financial relations of Ireland and England were ably regulated to 
serve the same purpose. Irish money was kept debased at least a quarter 
below the English standard. ' The King saved expense by paying his Irish 
army in Ireland not in sterling coin but in a cheaper coin. The English 
trader could profit by buying with bad money in Ireland, and selling for 
good money in England. And a blow was struck at the foreign commerce 
of Ireland : no foreign merchant would bring goods where money was light 
and bad.' The Four Masters chronicle, under 1499: 'New money was 
introduced into Ireland, i.e. copper, and the men of Ireland were obliged to 
use it as silver.' For, said the sagacious Cecil, * that realm cannot be rich 
whose coin is poor and base, nor that hath not intercourse and trade of 
merchandise with other nations.' The story of the commercial ruin of such 
towns as Gal way. Limerick, Cork, and Waterford shows that the policy of 

* thorough ' had at least a considerable measure of success. 

Part of the same policy was the extinction of the Irish language and 
learning, for these ' procure a talent of Irish disposition and conversation in 
them which is likewise convenient to be expelled.' Latin was forbidden to 
be used in treaties and negotiations, ' lest it might be falsely expounded by 
deceitful friars.' English, being understood of few, was the safer medium 
when questions of exposition arose. It need hardly be added that Irishmen 
were debarred from the English Universities, where formerly they had been 
wont to resort, as also from all lucrative positions at home. 

Yet after all the pains thus thoughtfully taken on their behalf, the 
Irishry returned only black ingratitude. Their iniquity was preternatural. 

* As I suppose, it is predestinate in this country to bring forth seditions, 
inventions, lies, and such other naughty fruits, also that no man shall have 
thanks for services done here.' 

Mrs. Green's remarkable book, backed up as it is by references for every 
statement, makes reading that to-day must sadden the hearts of all right- 
thinking men, English and Irish alike. At the root of the whole matter is 
the difference in race ; and, probably, there is no instance in mediaival and 
modern history in which the intensity of racial hatred is shown to greater 
advantage. In Scotland, thanks to our forefathers, thanks perhaps also to 
our poverty, such conflicts have been spared us largely, not wholly. In any 
case they have left behind no root of bitterness such as still rankles, and 
small wonder, in the hearts of Irishmen who know their country's history. 

W. J. Watson. 

Laoidhean agus Dhin Spioradail — le Murchadh Macleoid (nach maireann) 

Scalpaidh na h-Earradh — air a dheasachadh leis an Urr. Calum 

Mac'illinnein B.D. an Duneidean. Published by Norman Macleod, 

25 George iv. Bridge, Edinburgh. Price 2s. 

This is a neat little volume of Gaelic verse, extending over xi-f 83 pp. 

NOTES 28 7 

The get-up of it reflects credit on printers and publishers — and is such as 
will be sure to appeal to the taste of the real book-lover. It is described 
and commended in an editorial note — in English — and the reader is intro- 
duced to the life of the author in a plain, unpretentious narrative, couched in 
smooth, idiomatic Gaelic. 

In many respects it is a remarkable volume. If it is examined purely 
and severely as a literary production it would be easy for men of much 
lower stature than the author measured to point to defects more or less 
serious. The range of subjects may be neither very wide nor very varied, 
and the author confined himself to a small patch of the great field of 
religious experience. Judged as poetry one misses much of the rich 
imagery and obscure and elevated style with which some of our great 
poets have made us familiar. Nevertheless we find in this volume very 
many of those features which give charm to some of our finest modern 
Gaelic bards. 

To give true justice to the book, however, it must be read and examined 
in full light of the author's life and opportunities. He had only the advan- 
tage of an elementary education, say between the ages of six and fourteen. 
At the age of seventeen he became an ordinary sailor, and for six years 
gave no evidence of any higher ambition. At the end of that period he 
made his way home and found himself suff"ering from a disease which he 
knew would prove fatal before very long. He lingered for some four 
years, during the first two of which he was much troubled and downcast. 
Then, however, the cloud lifted and he began to give expression to his 
thoughts in poetic form. We submit that under such circumstances the 
little volume which he left us is remarkable for its excellence and pathos. 
"With insignificant exceptions, the language and idiom are of the pure 
stream, and taste of the right bias. They are real Harris texture and smell 
of the peat. 


The charming little peep into the past afforded by Father Allan 
MacDonald's legend in the last number of the Review touched a chord in at 
least one reader's heart — a chord, too, which, struck in early childhood, has 
never ceased to throb. 

Eushes abounded in our parish : chairs, tables, and whip-making were a 
never-failing source of pleasure. We used the pith to ornament card-board 
boxes, but the little brown tips were always a trouble. I have spent hours 
in trying to get enough all-over-green rushes even to make one chair, but 
never succeeded. It gave me a feeling very much akin to pain to find that 
they were all spoilt by that wretched little 'brown bit.' 

There was always a pleasant feeling when we pulled up a spike of 
scabious to find that the fairies had bitten their little share off; and when 
we cut a thick bracken stem, to find the spread-eagle, or counted the 



'shoes' on the horse-chestnut, the delight was always new, but those 
rushes ! — they were a continual vexation, only to be understood or 
appreciated by a country-bred child. I never spoke about my feeling to 
any one, which perhaps intensified it. 

Father Allan's solution, none the less thrilling that the rush-gathering 
days are long gone, is like a mountain burn, whose water is not only 
refreshing to drink, but whose tumbling rhythm brings back a living memory 
of days of yore. E. S. M. 

Alt ' Celtischer Sprachschafs. — A. Holder (Teubner, Leipzig). The 
eighteenth part (Vesontio-Zusemo), which has now appeared, contains 
many articles of interest. The Vettones, a Lusitanian folk, yield an ad- 
jective Vettonicus, whence Vettonica herba, a specific against snake bites of 
minor order, according to Celsus, whence our betony. The article on 
Victoria shows that the Celts had a goddess of victory named Andraste or 
Andate, who has often been wrongly connected with our Annat, a Celtic 
Church term. The most important individual word treated of is vindos, 
white, Gaelic fionn, Welsh gwyn, which with its derivatives runs to about 
twenty-two columns. Ptolemy's Vindogara, a bay and town of the Dam- 
nonii in Scotland, is equated as to situation with Girvan in Ayrshire. It 
has been thought to be the bay of Ayr, but we suspect that Girvan, formerly 
Garvane, is simply Vindo-gara, with the parts of the compound reversed. 
In fact Girvan appears to be the place noted in Professor Anwyl's paper in 
the Celtic Review (January 1908) as Garanwynyon, mentioned in the Black 
Book of Caermarthen. 'From the expression Gro Garanwynyon (the 
gravel of Garanwynyon),' says Professor Anwyl, 'it is not improbable that 
it was on the seashore.' The latter part of Garanwynyon appears to be 
from gwyn, white, and if so, the name is simply Vindo-gara reversed. If this 
is correct, it should furnish a much-needed caution to the people who derive 
names offhand with a light heart. 

The editor adds 45 pages by way of addenda to vol. i. pp. 1-47, of the 
Sprachschatz, at which rate it will be seen that there is no immediate prospect 
of A. Holder's great work coming to a conclusion. Among these addenda 
may be noted an inscription, D{eae) s{anctae) T{uribrigensi) Ad{aeginae)j 
'To the holy goddess Adaegina of Turobriga,' in Spain, with whose name he 
compares 0. Ir. adaig night, our Gaelic oidhche. 

The Royal Irish Academy Todd Lecture Series, vol. xiv. (52 pp. ; Is. 6d.), 
is by Dr. Kuno Meyer, and is entitled The Death Tales of the Ulster Heroes. 
The tales comprise the deaths of Conchobar, Loegaire Buadach, Celtchar 
mac Uthechar, Fergus mac E6ich, and Cet mac Magach. Three of these 
have not hitherto been published, and of a fourth, the Death of Fergus, the 
only source hitherto has been Keating's versipn. Dr. Meyer prints four of 
these tales from the Edinburgh MS. XL., for several of which that MS. is 
the only authority. A version of the fifth is found in the same MS. Text 
and translation are placed on opposite pages, and the book is furnished with 

NOTES 289 

notes, indexes of persons and places, and a glossary. The whole is of un- 
common interest and value. We may quote, for its rhythm, a verse of a 
poem by Cinded hiia Hartacdin, who died in 975 A.D. It is addressed to 
the stone formed of Mesgegra's brain, which was slung by Cet mac Mdgach 
at Concobar, and after lodging in his head for seven years ultimately proved 
his death. 

' A chloch thall for elaid uair Buite buain male Bronaig bain 

ropsa mind i tressaib t6ir dia mba i cind maic Nessa nair.' 

Translated by Dr. Meyer : 

• O stone yonder upon the cold tomb of ever-famous Buite, the blessed 
son of Br6nach, thou wast a diadem in battles of pursuit while thou wast in 
the head of the noble son of Ness.' 

Elad— ailad, a tomb, seems to survive in Scottish Gaelic as eala(dh),a 
term which Mr. A. Carmichael informs me is used in Lismore and elsewhere 
to denote the stone marking an ancient tomb (presumably of a cleric). 

Rev. Charles M. Robertson pointed out {Celtic Beview, i. 94) that 
Ptolemy's Tamia should be sought for on the Tummel, with which it is 
etymologically connected. Mr. Robertson considered Logierait to be the 
most likely site, an excellent position where a place of strength existed 
doubtless. There is, however, another site which is worthy of consideration, 
as actually preserving the very name itself, viz. Dun Teamhalach, at the east 
end of Loch Tummel, meaning Tummel Fort. Important forts were often 
situated at that end of a loch from which its river issues, e.g. Dundurn, at 
the east end of Loch Earn, Dunmore at the east end of Loch Vennachar, the 
great ruins at the east end of Loch Shin, and the forts in the Ness valley. 
Dun Teamhalach, therefore, seems to possess strong claims as the site of one 
of the ' towns ' of the Vacomagi. The maps, by the way, with their usual 
felicity, make it Duntanlich, which may have served to prevent its recog- 

Mr. W. C. Mackenzie's Simon Fraser, Lord Lovat^ His Life and Times 
(Chapman and Hall), is a handsome volume containing much information as 
to Simon's early life and struggles. It does not clear his memory, but it 
helps to explain him. Since publication of the book, Mr. Mackenzie has 
discovered that Simon's body, thought to rest in Kirkhill, was buried in the 
Tower of London on 17th April 1747. In course of a newspaper corre- 
spondence, however, appeal has been made to an examination of the Wardlaw 
vault conducted on 25th September 1884 by Sir William Fraser of Ledclune, 
and Mr. William Mackay, Inverness, has shown from documents in his 
possession that Sir William Fraser was satisfied that a body which he found 
therein was that of Simon. It is, of course, quite possible that Simon's 
remains were quietly conveyed to Kirkhill some time after their interment 
in the Tower. 

VOL. V. T 



One of the best equipped of the many recent school histories of Scotland 
is The Story of Our Native Land (Blackie and Sons) by Mr. Duncan Mac- 
Gillivray, Eector of Bellahouston Academy. The new edition, which is sure 
to be soon called for, should give an opportunity of recognising more 
explicitly the Celtic element in Scotland's story. By the way. Alba, which 
originally applied to the whole of Britain, and continued to be so used till 
about the tenth century, is not usually referred to alp^ a lump. The form 
Albion is very old. Sir John Khys declines to etymologise it, though 
Holder says * Weissland, von seinen Kreidefelsen am Meer,' which is the 
explanation most in vogue. 

* D. M. E.,' writing to the Northern Chronicle on official lists of prisoners 
taken after Culloden, brings out the interesting points that their average 
height ran rather under 5 feet 5 inches, and that the great majority of them 
were, men of middle age or over it. One might imagine that this latter fact 
at least might be ascribed to inferior running power, but ' D. M. R.,' from 
other statistics, is of opinion that most Highland young men of that period 
were in the habit of migrating or emigrating. 

The current number of the Scottish Historical Review contains an article 
by Mr. Evan M. Barron on the part played by the Celtic people north 
of the Grampians in the Scottish Wars of Independence. Mr. Barron 
shows good ground for believing that Bruce's main strength lay in the 
north and west, a position directly contrary to that maintained by 
Mr. A. Lang. The article is well and ably written, and deserves close 

An Comunn Gaidhealach propose to establish somewhere in the High- 
lands a summer school for Gaelic on the lines which have proved so 
successful in Ireland. The idea is not new, and the scheme deserves 
hearty support. 

A considerable section of the many valuable Celtic books in the library 
of the late Dr. Alexander MacBain has been acquired by the University of 
Glasgow through the liberality of a benefactor who withholds his name. 
The University authorities are to be congratulated on their acquisition, as 
also on having to a large extent helped to prevent the scattering of a fine 
collection. Is fhasa sgapadh na tional. 

Dr.- MacBain's Trustees have presented to the University of Glasgow the 
first draft of his famous Etymological Dictionary of the Gaelic Language. 
The MS. is large quarto, strongly bound in black leather. Over eight 
hundred books of Dr. MacBain's collection remain to be disposed of. 

W. J. W. 


APRIL 15, 1909 


Whitley Stokes 

The following glosses have been extracted from the vocabu- 
lary contained in pp. 143-153 of a paper manuscript of the 
seventeenth century, marked xxxviii., belonging to the High- 
land Society of London, and now deposited in the Advocates' 
Library, Edinburgh. This vocabulary contains about seven 
hundred and fifty entries, which, in my transcript, I have 
numbered consecutively. Many, perhaps most, of them are 
identical with the entries in one or other of the glossaries 
printed in the Archiv fur Celtische Lexikographie, Halle, 
1900, 1904, 1907. But those that follow have never, so far 
as I know, been printed, and are probably unknown to 
Celtists : — 

41. aillibi^s.l. braddn. 
One of the many Irish words for ' salmon.' O'Reilly gives 
it as ailliuhhar, an obvious misreading of ailliubhas. This 
is borrowed from a Middle- English "^''hali-hass, a compound of 
halt ' holy,' and base, now bass, a perch, the fish being, like 
hali-but, ' holy plaice,' excellent eating for holidays (Skeat). 
A similar name is halli-hoe, a Cornish word for the skipper 
fish, scomberesox saurus (Wright, The English, Dialect 
Dictiong^ry, iii. 33). 

86. airdicA^ach .1. uchtach. 
* high-bosomed, i.e. full-chested.' The lemma (corruptly in 
the MS. airdiac^tach) is a compound of ard, 'high,' and 

VOL. V. U 


ichtachf an adjective, derived from icht ( = Lat. pectus , Kuhris 
Zeitschr.y xxxv. 84), whence the Middle-Irish nominal prep. 
ar icht. The gloss is an adj. derived from ucht from "^poktu 
in ablaut-relation to pectus. 

125. buing .1. dabach. 
The gloss means a * large tub,' and the lemma buing must be 
borrowed from MHG. hunge * drum,' or Swed. hunke * a flat- 
bottomed bowl.' See Falk and Torp's Etymologisk Ordbog, i. 
85, col. 2. 

148. bath .1. bric^^. 

The gloss means a * spell ' or 'charm'; the lemma seems cognate 
with Lat. fatantur ' multa fantur,' Festus, and fateor. See 
Urkeltischer Sprachschatz, p. 159. 

198. caindi^^hecA^ .1. meidi^hecfet. 

The lemma is founded on the Lat. quantitas : the gloss is 
derived from meid 'quantity, size.' 

224. clannach .1. subhailce. 

The gloss means * virtue ' : the lemma may be connected with 
Gr. AcaXd?, Skr. kalya-s. O'Brien and his copyist O'Reilly 
have clanach ' virtue.' 

333. eilminte .1. duile. 

The gloss means 'elements,' and the lemma is the pi. of 
eilmint, a loan from the gen. sg. of the Lat. elementum, 
O'Reilly has ' element s. an element, vulg.' a mere pedantic 

346. foithrebh .1. gort. 

The gloss means *a field,' esp. *a corn-field.' The lemma is 
cognate With, fothirbe, Trip. Life, 82,168,ybf^AzV6e.l. imaireno 
gort no achad, H. 3.18, p. 62, col. 1. O'Reilly, apparently 
mistaking gort for gorta, tra^nslsites foithreibh by * hunger.' 

424. glann .1. gaire. 

The gloss means * laughter ' : the lemma (which O'Reilly 
misspells glan) may be = Pindar's yeXdp-qs ' laughing, cheer- 


ful,' from ^yeXaa-mj^i cognate with yeXaw, yeXacrros. As 
Prellwitz says : Lachen ist heiter sein, glanzen ; Lat. reni- 
dere = ridere ; vgl. yeXeiv * XdiLireiv, avOeiv, Hesych. 

462. imne .1. amal so. 

The gloss means * thus,' as O'Reilly translates it. The lemma 
is cognate with the O. Ir. im-tha, * so is,' nim-tha, * not so is,' 
nim-that, * not so are,' and also with Lat. im-ago, im-itor. 

517. mar each .1. imsniomach. 
The gloss means ' anxious,' * sad ' : the lemma is from '^margach 
(g provected by r), cognate with Ir. mairg ' woe,' Gr. fxdpyos 
' raging.' 

519. muaid .1. fuaim. 

The gloss means * sound,' ' noise ' : the lemma is obviously 
cognate with Gr. ftu^o), fivyiio^;, Lat. mugio, Skr. muj^ 

526. necht .1. geal. 

The gloss means * bright ' : the lemma is glossed by glan 
*pure,' in H. 3.18, p. 637^; and see Archiv i., pp. 62, 89. 
The ur- Keltic form is preserved in the corrupt Gaulish gloss 
netcos murus C.G.L.v. 'unwashed' leg. nectos merus. Bezz. 
Beitr. xxix. 169. The Gr. vlttto^ in dviiTTo^ 347 and the Skr. 
niktd are cognate. 

572. proscZa .1. calma. 
The gloss means ' brave ' : the lemma is an adjective derived 
from pros, a loan from O. Fr. prouesse or Mid. Eng. prowes, 
pruesse, ^low prowess, 

573. poireda .1. cuasac[h]. 
The gloss means ' hollow ' : the lemma ' porous ' being derived 
from poir, Lat. porus, gen. pori, Gr. Tropos. 

678. sidh .1. mecZhon laoi. 
The gloss means * middle of the day,' 'noon' (when sunUght 
is brightest) : the lemma should be sidh, from the root sveid, 



whence Lett, swidu, swlst, 'vom anbrechenden Tageslicht, 
hell werden/ Lith. svidus ' blank/ ' glanzend/ and Lat. sldus 
con-sidero. See Walde, Lat. Etym. Worterhuch, 139, 571. 

713. tonn .1. ard no caillech. 

The first gloss means a height : the lemma, when it means 
'height,' may come from tumno or ^tumndj and be cognate 
with Lat. tumeOj tumor, tumulus, etc. The second gloss, 
caillech, means * nun ' or ' old woman,' and then the lemma 
may be borrowed from Prov. domna, or Ital. donna, with the 
same provection of d that we find in tesc from discus, peist 
from hestia, and ParthaUn from Bartholomaeus. A derivative 
tuinne occurs in the compound sen-tuinne. Corm. s. v. priill. 


Professor Mackinnon 

V. Poems hitherto unpublished. 

{Continued from vol. v. p. 235) 

The following long poem (pp. 177-182) is on the same 
subject, and equally severe. The first stanza is defective, 
unless we insert the refrain — ' Sid gniomh comhraig nan 
Caimbeulach dubh,' as the MS. does in stanzas 2, 3, 4. It is 
also doubtful whether the piece is complete. The last lines 
would suggest the conclusion, but the usual * Finid ' is not 

Tha Clannach ^ ainmeil 

An drast ann an Albainn, 

Gu'n saoil iad le'n tapadh 

Gu'n striochd sinn le'r (n-)armaibh, 

Air fas 'nam b6can 

Le burach an suic. 

^ Formed by the author from clann, 'clan,' as fineachf 'clan,' tribe,' from 


Hoth, both ! aig gach aona mhuic, 

'S a carbad air (s)amhadh ; 

'S a corr-fhiacail ruisgte 

Gu cusanimh p] bainne. 

Cba'n 'eil binid no iomadal, 

No meuragan salacb, 

Nach dean iad a ghiubhladb 

Mar arrachdas abhail, — 

O sid gniomb c6mhraig 

Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Cha'n 'eil lonaid no taban 

No cl6imh an d^is armadh, 

Nacb bi 'm ba'ist nan trustar 

Dh'ionnsuidh 'm mosaicb' a dhearbhadh, 

Sid gniomb c6mhraig 

Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Cha'n 'eil sp^in gu 61 fuaraig 

No creachuinnean tr^ghad, 

Nach bi aca 'ga se61adh 

Gu buailtean a thr^ghadh ; — 

Sid gniomb cdmhraig 

Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Cha'n 'eil uachdar air miosar 

Nach dean iad a chr^gradh ; 

Mulchag no measgan, 

No miodraichean bl^'cha, 

Nach cuir iad 'n am bucaid, 

Marri pocannan garbhain ; — 

'S f ior ghrkineil an turaraich 

Thig bho thulchainn na gr^isge, 

Sid gniomb c6mhraig 

Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

'N uair a theid sibh a chadal, 
'S 'ur raidsichean sehrrsta, 
Bidh 'ur stamagan ciurrta, 
Gus am bruchd air 'ur n-etoach, 
Sid gniomb cdmhraig 
Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Sid gniomb c6mhraig 



Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Tha 'ur camp air iks miomhail, 

'S cha'n fhearr 'ur n-artiliri 

Druma 'ga heatadh, 

Cur rafreut air . . . 

Sid gnlomh c6mhraig 
Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Ach fuirichidh sibh fhathasd 

Anns an ionad as c6ir dhuibh, 

Anns an fhail uirceinich 

'Cladhach na h-6traich, 

Sid gniomh cdmhraig 

Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

'S na gabhaibh d' ur n-ionnsuidh 

An cliii nach do thoill sibh ; 

Mur bhith tapadh Dhiuc Uilleam, 

Agus Breatunn bhi foill duinn, 

Cha b' fhearr sibh gu c6mhrag, 

Na siof ainn an t-sruth ! 

Ged bha sibh aig Bhulcan, 

Cha d' rinn e 'ur fadhairt ; 

'S cha mh6 's ann de'n fhior chruaidh, 

A rinn e 'ur taghadh ; 

Ach de'n fheddar as buige, 

'S as measa 's a' mhargadh ; 

'N uair thig ^m a' chruadail, 

Cha dual da bhi marbh(t)ach, 

Sid gniomh cbmhraig 

Nan Caimbeulach dubh ! 

Mur biodh oirnne ri cogadh, 

Ach luchd chladhaich an dtraich, 

Gu'n cuireamaid stopadh 

Air btirach an sr6ine, — 

An armailt' each 

A mhilleadh an suth ! 

Cha bhiodh tromhorc ^ no uircean 

Nach cuirteadh gu cr6nan, 

The word is unknown to me. 


'G 'ur sgiiirsadh le lannaibh, 
Nach faicteadh h-aon be6 dhibh, — 
Bhithinn gle dheonach 
Ri dol air 'ur muin ! 
Tha mi cho chinnteach 
'S tha anail ro'm phdraibh, 
Gu faigh sibh cruaidh-chunntas 
Fhathasd 'n 'ur d6-bheirt ; 
Thuirt an sean-fhacal cuimhneach 
Nach bi maith gun bhi rathail ; 
'S nach bi olc gun bhi dioghlt', 
Mu'n tig deireadh an latha, — 
Guidheam sgriob n^mhaid 
A theachd air 'ur muin ! 

Luchd nam bial goileasach, 
Spreilleasach, gr^nnda, 
'G a bheil pailteas na foille 
'G a sgeith anns gach ^ite, — 
Sid am p6r abhrasach 
Ceirtleagach dubh ! ^ 
'Ur bhomit, 'ur puinnsean, 
A' brtichdadh an ^irde ; 
Gach earra-ghlas bho 'r goile 
Dh' fh^g deireasach t^intean, — 
Sid am p6r sanntach 
Air abhsporaig cruidh ! ^ 
Thig toradh air shiol, 
Mar chuir sibh 'ur n-6arlaid ; 
Gheibh sibh tuarasdal ddbailt', 
A reir diirachd 'ur c^irdeis ; 
Thug de dhuthchas bho'r sinnsridh 
Bhi sanntach air airgiod ; 
Bho 's e friamhach gach uilc e, 
Ni gach peacadh a dhearbhadh, 
Air luchd nan stamagan cabhrach, 
Nach dean tair air gne stuth ! 

Bidh 'ur register lion'or, 

'G a sgriobhadh an Albainn ; 

'S 'ur cuimhneachan salach 

^ The line is quoted in H. S. D. to illustrate the meaning of abhrasach, with refer- 
ence Oran. I do not remember seeing it in print. 

* The line is quoted in H. S. D. to illustrate the meaning of abhsporag, with refer- 
ence Oran. 



Anns gach histoii seanachais, — 

Sid am p6r abhrasach 

Ceirtleagach dubh ! 

Thig aiceidean cruaidh, 

'S cha truagh learn 'ur c^radh, 

'N aghaidh luchd nam bial fiar, 

A bha riamh dhuinn 'n an n^mhaid, — 

Sid am p6r sanntach 

Air abhsporaig cruidh ! 

Bidh sibh cho t^ireil 

*S gu'n dean P^rlamaid 6igheach, 

Gun triuir (fh)aicinn agaibh, 

An caraibh a cheile ; 

Ach mar ch^ardainnean peasain, 

Gun onair gun cheutaibh, 

'G 'ur ruith as gach baile, 

Gun fhear no bean reidh ruibh, — 

Ei luchd nan stamagan cabhracb, 

Nach dean tMr air gn^ stuth ! 

Luchd nam bial foilleil, 

*S nan cridheachan cealgach, 

Chuir cul ri'r righ dligheil, 

'S rinn 'ur Maighistir ^icheadh ; 

Tairgse suimeannan airgid 

Dh' fhiach am braitht' e d' a chionn ; 

Sibh dearbh-bhr^ithrean ludais, 

'S neo-chliuiteach 'ur brathair, 

Ged tha cuimhneachan siorruidh 

Sios 's a' Bhiob'l air a ch^radh, — 

Chain e toradh na p^ise, 

Ph^igh ar Sl^n'f hear d'a chionn ; 

Ma's e cheumannan peacach, 

Tha sibhse 'gan leanmhainn ; 

A' cur neo-choireach laghail 

An cunnart cuirp agus anma : 

Bithibh cho chinnteach, 

'S tha Sgriobtur 'g a dhearbhadh, 

Gu'm bi 'ur sentens ro phianail, 

An tigh a' bhreitheamh as ^irde, 

'N uair thig sumanadh bais oirbh 

Gu dol a nunn ! 

Tha Mhaighdeann 'g 'ur tagradh, 
Lan acrais sior-innseadh ; 
'S cha'n fh^gar i toileach, 


Gun fheoil mhothlaich nan Guibhneach, — 

Sid a chios-chnkmh 

A th' aic' oirbh a muigh ! 

Tha i edlach mu'r n-aitim, 

'S fad o rinn sibh dhith striopach ; 

Cha'n 'eil fine measg Ghaidheal, 

'S f earr ni 'carbad a lionadh, 

Na na shiolaich a nuas 

Bho shliochd Dhiarmaid an tuirc ! 

Tha gearr o chiad bliadhna, 

Bho rinn sibh rith' p^igheadh, 

'S 'ur n-ainbheach d' a reir sin 

A' sior dhol an ^irdead ; 

Tuitidh cudum nam fiach ud 

Air fear de shliochd Chailein ; 

'S bidh colann gun cheann deth, 

Le carbad na caile, — 

Sid an deud teann 

Tha sanntach air fuil ! 

Bidh 'ur ceathramhnan deiridh 

'G an togail an ^irde, 

Cur s^radh 'n ur . . . 

Le dul nam ball cainbe, — 

Sid an t-iomartas bais 

A thig air 'ur muin ! 

Sibh nach cuirear an duileachd, — 

Gach aon fhear is beul cam air, 

A' glaodhaich 's a' sgairteachd, 

'G an tarruing gu teann 

Le sreang as am bun ! 

Cha bhi bean ann an Latharn' 

Nach bi basan ' gam bualadh ; 

Sior thuirse ri gearan, 

* Tha m'f hear-tigh' air a ghualadh ' ; 

Tha na sruithean air tionndadh, 

'S cuibhr an f hortain 'n 'ur n-aghaidh ; 

Dh' aindeoin cabhraich no sugain, 

Cha bhi sinn eibhneach an deighidh, 

Gach driodf hartan b^is 

A thig air 'ur muin ! 

'S fad o th6isich 'ur puinnsean 
'S 'ur n^dur mi-rioghail ; 



B' f heairrd sibh losgadh an teine 
Gu fiachainn 'ur gniomha, 
Gu glanadh gach giomh 
A th^rmaich 'n 'ur f uil ! 
Bidh 'ur purgadair soilleir 
Air faobhar nan cl^idh'ean, 
'G 'ur sgiursadh le lannaibh, 
Cur kir air a phr^bar, — 
Gach aon f hear 's a' charbad, 
'S car cam ann gu bhun ! 


Air a righ le d61as ; 

'Ur coguis 'g 'ur n-agradh 

Anns na rinn sibh de dh6-bheirt ; 


'N 'ur cu no 'n 'ur n-each sibh ; 
Air mhodh 's nach biodh ctinntas, 
Oirbh ri thoirt seachad, 
'N uair thig turaraich a' bhais 
Le sp^rn air 'ur muin ! 

'Nuair gheibh sibh 'ur charters, 
Air 'ur leapannan caoile ; 
'Ur tiomn' air a sgriobhadh, 
'S 'ur carcas aig daolan, 
Chi sibh suimeannan airgid 
'N a dhiomhanas dubh ! 
An saoghal gu h-uile, 
'S gach maoin tha air uachdar, 
'G a fhagail 'n 'ur deighidh, 
Ach tri b6rdain mu'n cuairt dibh, 
'S aon l^ine chad f huar 
Air a fuaigheal mu'r smuig ! 
Bidh am baigear as bochda 
Tha 'g iarraidh na d^irce, 
Cho saoibhir a dh' f hearann, 
'S cho pailt ruibh a dh' eudach : 
'S olc a dh' ^irich do'n phrabar, 
Chain iad rompa 's 'n an deighidh ; 
Gus an teid c^mhal tro' shn^thaid, 
Cha tig eibhneas an deighidh 
Gach traoitearachd ghr^ineil, 
A th^rmaich 'n a tuil ! 

MS. defective. 

MS. illegible. 



The following verses, the last in the MS., occupy pp. 183- 
4. At the end of the eighth verse ' Finid ' is written and 
afterwards deleted, while the succeeding four verses are 
added. The concluding verse seems to close the poem, al- 
though the usual ' Finid ' is not appended. The reader will 
not fail to observe that this piece differs in conception and 
expression from the poet's well-known manner. Macdonald, 
so far as known, was not much of a sportsman, nor could he 
be charged with being over-sentimental. Besides, it will not 
be forgotten that the poet published under his own hand, in 
1751, two pieces, Oran air Sean Aois and Caraid is Namhaid 
an Uisge-bheatha, which have been claimed, on good authority, 
as the composition of Iain MacCodrum. It will be allowed, 
I believe, by every competent judge, that all the poems in the 
MS., with the possible exception of this last one, could have 
been written by none other than Mac Mhaighstir Alastair. 

Och, 's och, och mi fein ! 
Smaoineachadh air luchd ar cleas ; 
Cha teid mi dh' f hireach no shealg, 
Cha mharbhas earba nam preas. 
Damh cr6ice cha dean mi le6n, 
Bidh sinne fo bhr6n am feasd ; 
Bata mar bhaigear 'n ar d6rn, 
Cochull c6t oirnn, 's beag a mheas. 

Cha b'ionann 's ar breacan riomhach, 

B' f hinealta sgeimh agus snuadh ; 

Crios tir de leathair an fh^idh oirnn, 

'G a ch^radh an 6ileadh cuaich ; 

Chumadh e ar n-airm bho mheirgeadh, 

Fudar cha bh^idhteadh 's a' chluais ; 

Bhiodh e ullamh, ealamh, gleusda, 

Dh' ionnsuidh gach feum a bhiodh bhuainn. 

Smeoraichean air bharraibh gheug, 
'G atharrachadh theudan citiil ; 
Sid mo che6l an 6irigh gr^in', 
Boc a' reiceil os mo chionn ; 
Coilich air bharraibh nan cnocan, 
'S an urbaill paisgte 'na chuaich, 
(Mala) dhearg an e6in bu duibhe 
Cur siubhail fo m' aighear su(as). 



. . . ^breac-iteach, ce61-bhinn, 
Na h-e6in bhdidheach air bh^rr chraobh ; 
. . . 2(b)agoiita, cruinn, beitir, 
Air bh^rr phreas a' seinn gach citiil ; 
lad f h^in a' freagairt a ch^ile, 
Le notaichean ^ibhinn caomh, 
Eifeid gun ttichan, gun sgreadan, 
Aig gach feadaig a h'krd gl(aodh). 

C6 th^irneas sinne gu ca61, 

No gu s61as m6r na seilg, 

Gun umainn acb cochuill chraicinn, 

'S brigis lachdunn suas gu 'r ma . . ^ 

'S eigin fuireach aig a' bhaile, 

'N comunn bhan, ge cruaidh an cks ; 

Nionagan a' bdrd gu diomhair, 

Ciallachadh nach fiach ar st^. 

Gu'm b' e sid mo dhusgadh cadail, 
Air leabaidh shocair 's an f hraoch, 
Boladh na meala mu'n cuairt domh, 
'S mi suainte suas air mo thaobh ; 
Mo bhreacan fodham is tharam, 
'G am chumail bho f huachd . . . ^ 
'S tu bhiodh eadar mi 's gach cruadal, 
'S truagh an diugh thu bhi do m' dh . .3 

Nis bho chain sinn geall na coille, 

Geall na beinne, langan f^i(dh), 

Gha teich sinn air astar fada, 

Bho ch6mhrag (f h)raoch (?) dheirg is dhuinn ; 

Gun umainn ach brigis lachdunn 

Cochull a' slachdraich m' ar druim, 

Call mor bha sp6rs na h-abhann 

Drathais chldimh suas gu 'r d . . . ^ 

'S i so an ao(na) bhliadhna ch6rr, 
Tha Tomas ag iniiseadh gu beachd ; 
Gu faigh sinn coinne gu le6ir, 
Biomaid be6 an ddchas rag ; 
Fuasglamaid sinn f hin bho dhraoidheachd, 
'S bho gach geas 's a bheil sinn paisgt' ; 
'S thugamaid a dhe6in no 'r eigin, 
Ar cliii 's ar ceutaibh air n-ais. 

1 MS. defective. ^ MS. illegible. 

^ MS. frayed at the edge and illegible. 


Tha mi 'n diugh gun ruith gun leum ; 

Tha mo cheile bhuam air chall ; 

Nic Suain mhaiseach t' ainm baistidh, 

Dh' f huir'eadh agam, falbh 's an tamh ; 

'S ged a rachainn fad' air astar, 

'S tu leanadh riumsa teann ; 

Gur tu nach deanadh mo dhiobradh. 

'Shneachda no dhile bhiodh ann. 

Tha c6rr is da f hichead bliadhna, 
Bho rinn sinn ar snaim a chur ; 
Cha chualas droch f hacal riamh bhuait, 
Aon mhi-mhodh gu'n tugainn duit ; 
Ged a cheangladh thu le iallaibh, 
'S ged a tholladh thu le bruid, 
Bhiodh tusa oho seang ri maighdinn 
Cur fasgaidh air cliabh mo chuirp. 

Shiubhlainn leat iosal is ard, 
Mullach bheann is barr nan enoc, 
Faoin-ghlinn nan glacagan tl^th, 
Creachainn firich 's coille dhos ; 
'Nuair a thigeadh oirnn an oidhche, 
Thearnamaid 's an f hraoch gu clos ; 
Mo bhreacan suainte mu'm chom, 
Cadal trom is eirigh moch. 

C6ta goirid 's osan gearr, 

'S eileadh air a charadh deas ; 

Bhiodh sid aig uaislean na h-Albann, 

Aig Righ Robert bu mhor meas : 

Ge b'e theireadh anns an am sin, 

Gun iad a bhi ann am f easd, 

'S neonach leam nach buailte' meall air, 

Air Sasunn mheallta nan cleas. 

If it cannot be maintained that some of these poems add 
to the fame of the great Jacobite bard, this much at least 
will be allowed, that no future editor of Mac Mhaighstir 
Alastair can afford to neglect the interesting and valuable 
MS. whose contents have now been printed for the first time. 



J. M. Mackinlay 

Bv relationships I do not mean ties of blood, but ties of 
circumstance. St. Oswald was Anglic by birth, and ruled 
over an Anglic people, but at various times during his 
romantic career he was brought into touch with Celtic 
influences. When his father, ^thelfrith, King of Northum- 
bria, was killed in battle in the year 617, and was succeeded 
by Eadwine, brother-in-law of the dead king, Oswald, who was 
then about thirteen years of age, had to flee from his native 
land. He went to the north-west, and along with his elder 
brother Eanwith and a dozen followers, sought refuge in the 
monastery of lona. St. Columba had been dead twenty 
years ; but the tradition of his sanctity was still a living 
force in the island. Celtic monasteries were places of educa- 
tion as well as of devotion. When speaking of monastic 
institutions in Erin, Miss Eleanor Hull in her Early Christian 
Ireland remarks : * Let us see what sort of life a boy lived 
in one of these great schools. It was a busy life, for they 
had not only to learn lessons and to attend the services of 
the church, but they had also to take their share in the 
general work of the place. The monks and students alike 
seem to have taken part in cultivating the ground, in grinding 
and baking bread, and in doing the duties both of farmers 
and cooks. Even the bishops and clergy seem at first to 
have worked with their hands, and to have laboured in the 
fields, but as the establishments grew larger the work must 
have been divided, and the lay brethren no doubt performed 
the ordinary duties, while the monks and clergy gave them- 
selves to teaching and the services of the Church. But in 
St. Columcille's time all shared the work, and even men of 
noble birth ploughed and reaped and attended to the wants 
of the establishment.' 


When Oswald and his brother, along with their com- 
panions, entered the monastery of lona, they apparently did 
so merely because it supplied an asylum during a time of 
political unrest, for they were still Pagans. They allowed 
themselves, however, to be instructed in the doctrines of 
Christianity. Eventually they made profession of the new 
faith and received the seal of baptism. When Oswald came 
to lona its Abbot was Fergna Brit, i.e. the Briton, otherwise 
called Virgnous, who was head of the monastery from 605 till 
623. He had been one of its inmates when St. Columba was 
Abbot, and according to Adamnan was witness of a miraculous 
light which, on one occasion, enveloped the saint, and which 
he alone of all the brethren was permitted to see. 

Meanwhile political changes were making themselves felt 
in Northumbria, rumours of which penetrated even into the 
recesses of the Icolmkill monastery. Though evidently content 
with his mode of life there, with its round of study, labour, 
and devotion, Oswald did not forget his home -land and his 
royal ancestry. At lona he was still an exile. * Unhappy it 
is for a man, however good his means and his lot, if he does 
not see his own country and his own home at the time of 
rising in the morning and at the time of lying at night.' 
This sentiment thus expressed in Dr. Alexander Carmichael's 
admirable version of Deirdire was found true in the experi- 
ences of the royal exile. 

In 633, sixteen years after Oswald became a fugitive, 
Eadwine fell in battle at Heathfield (now Hatfield), in York- 
shire, crushed by the combined armies of Penda, ruler of 
Mercia, and his ally Csedwalla, a British prince. Eanwith 
thereupon ascended the Bernician throne, and Osric, a cousin 
of Eadwine, that of Deira ; but in the following year both 
these princes were slain, and the two thrones were vacant. 
This was a call to Oswald to enter public life, and he did not 
let the opportunity pass. With a small army recruited 
probably, as Dr. W. F. Skene suggests, from among the men 
of the Border north of the Tweed, he marched south and met, 
near the Roman Wall, between the Tyne and the Solway, a 



Pagan army much larger than his own, under the leadership 
of Cation, who has been identified, though not conclusively, 
with Csedwalla. 

On the day before the battle Oswald was sleeping in his 
tent, when, according to the narrative of Adamnan, a wonder- 
ful and cheering vision was vouchsafed to him. Adamnan 
says : ' He saw St. Columba in a vision, beaming with 
angelic brightness, and of figure so majestic that his head 
seemed to touch the clouds. The blessed man, having 
announced his name to the king, stood in the midst of the 
camp, and covered it all with his brilliant garment, except 
at one small distant point ; and at the same time he uttered 
those cheering words which the Lord spake to Jesua Ben 
Nun before the passage of the Jordan, after Moses' death, 
saying, " Be strong and of a good courage ; behold, I shall 
be with thee," etc. Then St. Columba, having said these 
words to the king in the vision, added, ** March out this 
following night from your camp to battle, for on this occasion 
the Lord has granted to me that your foes shall be put to 
flight, that your enemy Cation shall be delivered into your 
hands, and that after the battle you shall return in triumph, 
and have a happy reign." ' To give emphasis to the above 
story Adamnan adds : ' I, Adamnan, had this narrative from 
the lips of my predecessor, the Abbot Failbe, who solemnly 
declared that he had himself heard King Oswald relating 
this same vision to Segine the Abbot.' The incident, how- 
ever we may interpret it, is of special interest as showing 
what a hold the monastery of lona had taken on the mind 
of Oswald. What he had there heard of its great founder 
had so impressed him that now, at a critical juncture in his 
life, his imagination was stirred by memories of what he had 
been told. 

In the battle that followed Oswald and his army obtained 
a decisive victory. The scene of the conflict was a place 
some seven or eight miles north of Hexham, styled in the 
English tongue Heavenfield or the Heavenly Field, ' which 
name,' according to Bede, 'it formerly received as a presage 


of what was afterwards to happen, denoting that there the 
heavenly trophy would be erected, the heavenly victory 
begun, and heavenly miracles be wrought.' Bede's reference 
to the heavenly trophy and the heavenly miracles relates to 
a wooden cross erected by Oswald before the battle and to 
the cures believed to have been wrought by chips of its wood 
when placed in water. The conflict is styled by Nennius the 
battle of CatscauU, supposed to represent Cad-ys-gual, i.e. 
the battle at the wall. A church was afterwards built on the 
spot, and dedicated to St. Oswald. 

Nothing now lay between Oswald and the throne of 
Northumbria, and in ascending it he re-united the kingdoms 
of Bernicia and Deira. In addition he was overlord of 
practically all England except Kent, of the islands of Angle- 
sea and Man, and even of the Cymric kingdom of Strath- 
clyde, whose capital was Alcluith, now Dunbarton, i.e. the 
hill or fort of the Britons. During the time of Eadwine 
Christianity had been introduced into Deira by St. Paulinus ; 
but in Bernicia heathenism still prevailed. Accordingly 
when Oswald formed a plan for evangelising the northern 
portion of his realm, it was natural that his thoughts should 
turn to lona for the help he needed. * The same Oswald,' 
says Bede, * as soon as he ascended the throne, being desirous 
that all his nation should receive the Christian faith, whereof 
he had found happy experience in vanquishing the barbarians, 
sent to the elders of the Scots . . . desiring they would send 
him a bishop by whose instruction and ministry the English 
nation, which he governed, might be taught the advantages 
and receive the sacraments of the Christian faith.' In 
response to the king's request one of the brethren named 
Corman, was sent to Bernicia, but he was too austere and 
had little success in his preaching. On his return to lona 
he was succeeded among the Angles by Aidan, whom Bede 
describes as * a man of singular meekness, piety, and modera- 
tion.' The only blemish in his character hinted at by Bede 
was his habit of celebrating Easter at the Celtic and not the 
Roman time of year. 

VOL. V. X 


The king assigned to Aidan as his Episcopal seat, Lindis- 
farne, off the Northumbrian coast, known later as Holy 
Island. It had a special attraction for the missionary bishop 
as it recalled his Scottish home. Aidan, as the Rev. Canon 
Raine points out, ' had been long accustomed to the sea-girt 
shore of lona ; and Lindisfarne would doubtless appear to 
him a second lona embosomed in the waves/ The Bishop, 
unaccustomed to the Anglic speech, had difficulty in making 
himself understood in Northumbria ; but the king, who had 
become familiar with Gaelic during his residence in lona, was 
in the habit of acting as interpreter to the chief men of the 
court. Bede tells us that many other Scottish missionaries 
settled in different parts of the Northumbrian realm, that 
churches were built, and that money and lands were given 
by the king to found monasteries. An anecdote told by 
Bede exemplifies King Oswald's kindness to the poor. One 
Easter the king was sitting at dinner with Bishop Aidan, 
and on the table was a silver dish full of dainties. When 
the king was informed that a number of starving people 
stood without seeking alms, he at once sent food to them, 
and ordered the silver dish to be broken up, and divided 
among them ; ' at which sight,' says Bede, * the bishop, much 
taken with such an act of piety, laid hold of his right 
hand and said, ''May this hand never perish." Which fell 
out according to his prayer, for his arm and hand, being cut 
off from his body, when he was slain in battle, remain 
entire and uncorrupted to this day.' 

In 642, eight years after his accession to the Northum- 
brian throne, Oswald was slain in battle at a place called by 
Bede Maserfield, believed to be Oswestry in Shropshire. 
His conqueror was Penda of Mercia, who, flushed with 
triumph, caused the dead king's head, arms, and hands to 
be cut off and fixed on stakes. The story of Oswald's 
relics forms a picturesque chapter in the annals of hagiology ; 
but the narration of their wanderings lies beyond the scope 
of the present article. The stake on which the king's head 
was fixed was believed to have acquired thereby miraculous 


powers. Bede tells us that when Acca, afterwards Bishop 
of Hexham, was in Ireland on pilgrimage he found that the 
fame of the king's sanctity was already spread far and near. 
A violent plague was raging at the time. Acca was asked 
by a certain scholar, who was dangerously ill, if he could 
supply any relics of St. Oswald, in the hope that they might 
bring restoration to health. Acca replied that he had with 
him a piece of the oaken stake on which the king's head had 
been fixed at Maserfield. He forthwith blessed some water 
and placed in it a chip of the wood as was done in the case 
of the cross at Heavenfield, already referred to. The sick 
man drank the water and recovered, and King Oswald got 
the credit of the cure. 


Rev. a. Maclean Sinclair 

Douglas's Baronage was originally published in 1798. It is 
a valuable work, but far from being trustworthy, especially 
before the year 1500. Its account of the Macgregors is 
substantially as follows : — 

Gregor, third son of King Alpin, was the progenitor of 
the Clan Gregor. Dugall, son of Gregor, died about the year 
900, leaving two sons, Constantine and Fingon. Constantino 
succeeded his father as chief of the Clan Gregor. Fingon was 
the ancestor of the Mackinnons. Griogair na Brataich, or 
Gregor of the Standard, son of Constantino, was killed in a 
battle with the Danes in 961. John Mor, son of Griogair na 
Brataich, was killed in battle about 1004. Griogair Garbh, 
or Gregor the Stout, son of John M6r, and laird of Glen- 
urchy, was one of the most eminent warriors of his day. Sir 
John, son of Gregor the Stout, was known as Iain Borb nan 
Cath, or fierce John of the battles. He married an English 
lady of great beauty, and had by her two sons, Malcolm, his 
successor in the chiefship, and Gregor, Abbot of Dunkeld. 
Gregor was the progenitor of the Macnabs, or sons of the 


abbot. Sir John Borb died about 1113. Sir Malcolm, son 
of Sir John, was a man of extraordinary strength of body. 
He died about 1164, leaving three sons, William, Gregor, 
and Aodh. Gregor, who was known as Griogair Mor Grknda 
or big, ugly Gregor, was the ancestor of the Grants. Aodh, 
Ay or Hugh, was the progenitor of the Mackays. Sir 
William, son of Sir Malcolm, died about 1238, leaving two 
sons, Gregor, his successor, and Alpin, Bishop of Dunblane. 
Gregor, son of Sir William, died about 1286. Malcolm, son 
of Gregor, fought at the battle of Bannock burn in 1314. He 
died about 1374, and left two sons, Gregor Alainn, his heir, 
and Gilbert, ancestor of the Griersons of Lag. Gregor Alainn, 
or handsome Gregor, had five sons : Malcolm, his heir, John 
of Brackly, Gillespick or Archibald, Gregor, and Dugald Ciar. 
Gregor, the fourth son, was the ancestor of the Macgregors of 
Roro. Dugall Ciar, or dark-grey Dugall, was the progenitor 
of Clann Dughaill Ch^ir or descendants of Dugall Ciar. 

The foregoing genealogy of the Macgregors is utterly 
erroneous. It is not founded either upon facts or genuine 
traditions ; it is a work of the imagination from beginning to 
end. The MacKinnons are not descended from the Mac- 
gregors ; neither are the Grants, nor the Mackays. 

The following genealogies may not be free from errors ; 
at the same time they may be of some use to those who are 
interested in the history of the Clan Gregor. 

The Macgregors of Glenurchy 

I. Gregor, the founder of the Clan Gregor, was born 
about the year 1280. He was the son of Duncan, son of 
Malcolm, son of Gilchrist, son of Ferchar, son of Murdoch, 
son of Andrew. He possessed the lands of Glenurchy and 

II. John Cam, son of Gregor, had three sons, Patrick, 
John Dubh, and Gregor. He died in 1390, and was buried 
at Dysart. 

Patrick, eldest son of John Cam, succeeded his father as 


chief of the Clan Gregor. Malcolm, son and successor of 
Patrick, was chief in 1400. 

III. John Dubh, second son of John Cam, was tacksman 
of Stronmellochan. He married Derval, daughter of Ewen 
Maclachlan, and had Malcolm, and probably John and Ewen. 
He died in 1415, and was buried at Dysart. 

IV. Malcolm, son of John Dubh, succeeded Malcolm, son 
of Patrick, as chief of the Clan Gregor. He had four sons : 
Patrick, the Vicar of Fortingall, Dugall and Duncan. The 
Vicars name was probably John or Gregor. Dugall may 
have been known as Dugall Ciar or dark-grey Dugall. 

V. Patrick, son of Malcolm, had two sons, John Dubh 
and Duncan Beag. He died in 1461, and was buried at 
Dysart. Duncan Beag became tacksman of Boro in 1470, 
and died there in 1477. He left two sons, Patrick and Gregor. 

VI. John Dubh, son of Patrick, was tenant of Glenstrae 
and Stronmellochan. He died in 1519, and was buried at 
Dysart. He was about ninety years of age. 

VII. Malcolm, son and heir of John Dubh, had two sons, 
Patrick and Duncan. He died in Glenlyon in 1498. 

VIII. Patrick, son of Malcolm, died at Auchinchallane in 
1518, and was buried at Dysart. He left two sons, Gregor 
and Duncan. 

IX. Gregor, elder son of Patrick, succeeded his great- 
grandfather in 1519 as chief of the Clan Gregor, and also as 
tenant of Stronmellochan. He was appointed tutor to Alister 
Boy Macgregor of Glenstrae in 1528. He died at Auchin- 
challane in 1547, and was buried at Dysart. He was suc- 
ceeded as chief of the Clan Gregor, or Laird Macgregor, by 
his brother Duncan, who was born about the year 1505. 

The Macgregors of Glenstrae 

Dugall, son of Malcolm, son of John Dubh, had Alister, 
Malcolm, John, Patrick, Duncan, and Dugall. Ewen, son of 
Alister, son of Dugall, had three sons, John, Alister, and 
Duncan. Mary, daughter of Duncan, son of John, son of 
Dugall, died in 1548. 



I. John mac Ewen mac Alister succeeded John Macgregor 
in Glenstrae in 1519. We find him described in 1522 as the 
heir and successor of John Dubh. According to the Black 
Book of Taymouth he was principal of the Clan Dugall Ciar, 
but not the right heir to the chiefship of the Clan Gregor. 
He ravished Helen Campbell, daughter of Sir Colin Camp- 
bell of Glenurchy, and widow of Maclean of Lochbuie. He 
married her, and had by her a son named Alister or Alex- 
ander. He had a son named Gregor, who may possibly have 
been by a former wife. Gregor died shortly after the birth 
of Alister. John MacEwen was nominally captain of the 
Clan Gregor of Glenstrae, but in reality captain of the whole 
clan. He was not chief of the Clan Gregor ; he was only 
chieftain of a branch of it. He died at Achallader, April 12, 
1528, and was buried at Dysart. 

II. Alister, son and successor of John MacEwen, was born 
in 1525, and infeoifed in the lands of Glenstrae in 1528. He 
married a daughter of Campbell of Ardkinglass, and by her 
had John, Gregor Roy, Ewen, Duncan of the Glens, and 
Patrick Odhar in Cadernoch, Glencorf He was succeeded 
by his son John, who, as the result of a wound from an 
arrow, died in early life. 

Gregor Roy succeeded his brother John in Glenstrae. 
He married a daughter of Duncan Campbell of Glenlyon, and 
had by her Alister Roy and John Dubh. He was executed 
at Kenmore by Sir Colin Campbell of Glenurchy, April 7, 
1570. His wife composed a pathetic and beautiful elegy 
about him. 

Alister Roy, son and successor of Gregor Roy, defeated 
the Colquhouns at Glenfreoin, February 7, 1603. He was 
unjustly executed in Edinburgh, January 20, 1604. John 
Dubh, second son of Gregor Roy, was known as Iain Dubh 
na Luirich or John Dubh of the coat of mail. John Dubh 
married a daughter of John Murray of Strowan, and by her 
had Gregor Roy, Patrick Roy, and John. He was killed at 
the battle of Glenfreoin. 

Gregor Roy, eldest son of John Dubh, succeeded his uncle 



in Glenstrae in 1604. He sold Glenstrae and Stronmellochan, 
in July 1624, to Sir Duncan Campbell of Glenurchy. He was 
succeeded by his brother Patrick Roy. 

Patrick Roy, second son of John Dubh, had two children, 
James and Jean. He died about 1648. Jean was married 
in 1666 to Allan Cameron, brother of Sir Ewen Cameron of 
Lochiel. James, son and successor of Patrick Roy, entered into 
a bond of friendship with Lachlan MacKinnon of Strath- 
ordill, June 4, 1671. In this bond he is described as James 
Macgregor of that Ilk. He died without issue. 

V. Ewen, third son of Alister, son of John MacEwen, 
was born about 1550. He appears on record as tutor of 
Glenstrae in January 1584. He had three sons, Gregor in 
Morinsh, John Dubh, and Duncan. Gregor and John Dubh 
were executed in 1604, simply for having fought at the battle 
of Glenfreoin. 

VI. Duncan, third son of Ewen, married, in 1603, Margaret 
MacFarlane, by whom he had Malcolm of Stuckinroy, and 
Ewen of Kilmanan. He was appointed tutor of Glenstrae 
in 1604. 

VII. Ewen of Kilmanan married in 1656 Mary Napier, 
by whom he had two sons, John and Archibald. John 
died without issue, and was succeeded by his brother 

VIII. Archibald of Kilmanan married Ann Cochrane in 
1680, and by her had a son named Ewen. He succeeded 
Gregor, son of Gregor of Stuckinroy, as chief of the clan 
Gregor, in 1693. Ewen, his son, died unmarried about 
1702. Archibald of Kilmanan died in Ireland between 1710 
and 1715. 

The Macgregors of Glengyle 

I. Malcolm Macgregor, progenitor of the Macgregors of 
Inverlochlarig and Glengyle, was born about the year 1440. 
He was a son of Dugall, son of Malcolm, son of John Dubh 
of Glenstrae. 

Dugall Ciar, son of Malcolm, had three sons, 




Malcolm, Duncan, and Patrick. The word Ciar means 

III. Malcolm, son of Dugall Ciar, appears on record in 
1533. He was put to the horn in that year, together with 
Duncan and Patrick his brothers. He lived at Carnlea, and 
married Fingula Maclntyre. He had four sons, Dugall, 
Gregor Dubh, Duncan, and Finlay. Dugall, his eldest son, 
had three sons, Malcolm, Dugall Og, and Gregor. Malcolm 
lived at Inverlochlarig in Balquidder. He was executed in 
1604. Gregor, son and heir of Malcolm, appears on record 
in 1613. Dugall Og, second son of Dugall, son of Malcolm, 
lived in Glengyle, and was slain at Bentoig, along with Duncan 
his son, in 1604. 

IV. Gregor Dubh, second son of Malcolm, married a 
daughter of Thomas Buchanan of Carbeth, and had by her 
Malcolm Og and other sons. He was living in Glengyle in 
1581 and at Caol-letter in 1586. He became tacksman of 
Glengyle sometime afterwards. 

V. Malcolm Og, son of Gregor Dubh, was executed in 1613. 
He left Malcolm, Gregor, Duncan, John, Donald, Duncan Beag, 
and other sons. It is said that he had nine sons in all. 

VI. Malcolm, son of Malcolm Og, married a daughter 
of Macdonald of Keppoch, and had by her Donald Glas 
and John. 

VII. Donald Glas was born about 1630, and appears on 
record for the first time in 1655. He was a lieutenant -colonel 
in the army that fought for King Charles ii. He married a 
daughter of Campbell of Glenlyon, and had by her three sons, 
John, Duncan, and Robert. He had also a daughter who 
became the wife of Donald, second son of Macdonald of 
Glencoe. Captain Campbell of Glenlyon, the officer who 
took such an active part in the horrible massacre of Glencoe, 
was a brother of Donald Glas's wife and an uncle of the wife 
of Donald, son of Macdonald of Glencoe. 

Robert, third son of Donald Glas— the Rob Roy of history 
— is the best known of all the Macgregors. Indeed, next to 
Wallace and Bruce, he is probably the best known of all 


Scotsmen. He was born in 1660, and died in December 

VIII. John, eldest son of Donald Glas, succeeded his father 
in Glengyle. He had two sons, Gregor and Donald. 

IX. Gregor, son of John, was born in 1689. He obtained 
from the Marquis of Montrose a feu-charter of Glengyle. He 
was known as Griogair na Gluin Duibh, or Gregor of the 
black knee. He died in 1777, leaving two sons, John 
and Robert. 

The Macgregors of Brackly 

I. Duncan Liomhanach, or Duncan who lived in Glenlyon, 
must have been born about the year 1400. He was a brother 
of the Vicar of Fortingall. He had three sons, John, Gregor, 
and Gilbert, or possibly Gregor, John, and Gilbert. Gilbert 
was Vicar of Kilmartin, and died in 1511. 

II. John, son of Duncan Liomhanach, or John Duncanson, 
married Catherine, daughter of William Cardney, laird of 
Foss, and had Duncan, William, John, and Andrew. He 
lived at Balloch, and died there in 1491. He was buried 
at Inchadin or Kenmore. William, his son, died at Garth in 
1511, leaving a son named Malcolm. 

III. Duncan, eldest son of John Duncanson, became tacks- 
man of Brackly, a two-mark land in Glenurchy, and also 
captain of Glenurchy Castle. He died in 1518 and was 
buried at Dysart. He had four sons, John Dubh his suc- 
cessor, Donald Dubh, Neil, and Malcolm. Neil died in 1524. 

IV. John Dubh of Brackly and Glenurchy Castle died in 

V. Gregor, son of John Dubh, had two sons, John and 
Charles. The later was slain at Bentoig in 1604. 

VI. John, son of Gregor, appears on record in 1629 as John 
Graham, alias Macgregor of Brackly. 

VII. James Graham, son of John, succeeded his father in 
Brackly or Breacshliabh. 

VIII. Patrick, son of James, appears on record in 1655 
and 1682. 


IX. John, son of Patrick, succeeded his father, and is 
referred to in 1686. 

X. Gregor Macgregor, son of John, appears on record in 
1714 as head of the family of Brackly. 

The Macgregors of Brackly were for a long time hereditary 
captains of the castle of Glenurchy. 

The Macgregors of Eoro 

I. Gregor, progenitors of the Macgregors of Roro, was a 
son of Duncan Liomhanach. He had four sons, Duncan, 
Ewen, Neil, and John. He died in 1515. Ewen his son died 
in 1505. Neil his son had a son named Gregor, who died in 

II. Duncan, son of Gregor, had Gregor, Ewen, and other 
sons. Ewen murdered Gregor Clerk in 1552. He died in 
1554, and was buried with great lamentation of men and 
women. John Dubh, son of Ewen, died at Bunrannoch in 
1564, and was buried at Fortingall. 

III. Gregor, son of Duncan, succeeded his father. He 
married Mariotta Barre. He died at a comparatively early 

IV. Duncan, son of Gregor, appears on record in 1563. 
He had four sons, Gregor, John Dubh Mor, Alister Breck, and 
Malcolm Dubh. Alister Breck had three sons, Duncan, John 
Dubh, and Alister. Duncan lived in Ferna. He fought at 
the battle of Glenfreoin, and was executed in 1604. John 
Dubh lived in Stronfernan. He was slain by John Campbell, 
brother of the laird of Lawers, in 1611. His slayer sent his 
head to the Privy Council and obtained a handsome reward 
for it. Alister, son of Alister Breck, appears on record in 

V. Gregor and John Dubh Mor, sons of Duncan, appear 
on record in 1589. Gregor had three sons, Duncan, George, 
and John Dubh Sinclair. 

VI. Duncan, son of Gregor, is mentioned in 1631. He 
married Catherine, daughter of Dugall Campbell of Glenlyon, 


and had by her Alexander and Gregor. Alexander was slain 
at the battle of Inverlochy in 1645. 

VII. Gregor, second son of Duncan, had three sons, 
Gregor, Duncan Roy, and Neil. 

VIII. Gregor, son of Gregor, fought for the Stewarts in 

IX. Duncan, son of Gregor, was born probably about 
1700. He fought for Prince Charles in 1745. He got 
deeply into debt and had to part with Roro. He died in 

The Mallochs. — Ewen, son of Gregor Duncanson, was 
born probably about 1470. He died in 1505, leaving three 
sons, John Malloch, Neil, and James. Neil, son of Ewen, 
lived in Ardennaig, and had three sons, Gregor, William, and 
Malcolm. Gregor succeeded his father in Ardennaig. Mal- 
colm mac Neil vie Ewen was living at Lagferna in 1558. 

John Malloch (Iain Malach or John of the heavy eye- 
brows) had Neil, Ewen, John Roy, Duncan, Donald, and other 
children. He died at TuUichcamin in 1523, and was buried 
at Killin. Duncan, son of Patrick, son of Duncan, son of 
Neil, son of John Malloch, purchased the estate of Balhaldies. 
Alexander of Balhaldies, son of Duncan, married in 1686 
Margaret, eldest daughter of Sir Ewen Cameron of Lochiel, 
and had by her William, Ewen, John, Duncan, Alexander, 
and Donald. John was the author of the Memoirs of Lochiel 
— a very valuable work. David Mallet the poet, whose name 
was really David Malloch, was a descendant of John Malloch. 

The Gregorys. — James, son of Gregor Duncanson of 
Roro, settled in Aberdeenshire about the year 1500. James 
Gregory, his son, lived at Woodland in Udney, and had three 
children, James, Thomas, and Janet. James, son of James, 
was a saddler in Aberdeen. He had two sons, John and 
James. John was born in 1598. He studied for the Church 
and became minister of Drumoak, where he died in 1652. 
Donald Gregory, the accomplished historian of the Western 
Highlands and Islands of Scotland, was descended from him. 



The Macgeegors of Glencarnock 

I. Duncan L^dasach was born about the year 1505, and 
lived at Ardchoille in Glendochart. In 1550 Alister Odhar, 
son of Patrick, son of Duncan Beag, slew John, son of Donald 
Bane Macgregor. On Sunday, November 22, 1551, Duncan 
Lkdasach and Gregor his son slew Alister Odhar, and took 
from him his purse and forty pounds of money. Duncan 
Lh^dasach had four sons, Gregor, Malcolm Roy, Patrick Dubh, 
and Duncan Og. He was executed at Finlarig in June 1552 
by Colin Campbell of Glenurchy and Duncan Roy Campbell 
of Glenlyon. Two of his sons, Gregor and Malcolm, were 
executed along with him. The word Ladasach means bold of 
speech, arrogant. 

II. Gregor Roy, eldest son of Duncan Ladasach, married 
Isabel Cameron, and had seven sons : Duncan, Patrick, Alister 
Scorach, Gregor Gearr, Malcolm, Patrick Athollach, and 
Dugall. Duncan was brought up in Lochaber, and was known 
as Duncan Abrach. Patrick fought under Alister of Glenstrae 
at Glenfreoin, and was executed in Edinburgh in 1604. He 
had five sons : Duncan, Alister, Patrick, Donald, and John. 

III. Duncan Abrach lived at Ardchoille. He was forfeited 
in 1569. He had two sons, Gregor and Patrick. He was 
slain at the massacre of Bentoig in April 1604. Gregor, his 
elder son, was slain at the same time. 

IV. Patrick, second son of Duncan Abrach, had a son 
named John. 

V. John, son of Patrick, is described in 1670 as John 
Macgregor, alias mac Phadraig mhic Dhonnachaidh Abraich 
in Glenlochy. He was succeeded by his son, John Og. 

VI. John Og, son of Duncan, was born in 1668. He 
married Catherine Campbell, and by her had Robert, Peter or 
Patrick, Duncan, Evan, and John. He amassed a good deal 
of wealth, and purchased the estate of Glencarnack in Bal- 
quidder. He died in 1744. 

VII. Evan, fourth son of John Og, was born in 1710. He 
was an officer in the army. He married Janet, daughter of 


John Macdonald of Balcony, son of Sir James of Sleat, and 
had by her John Macgregor Murray and other sons. 

VIII. John Macgregor Murray was a general in the East 
India Company's Service and auditor-general of Bengal. He 
was a man of ability, culture, and wealth. In 1784 he was 
acknowledged by eight hundred and twenty-six Macgregors 
as chief of their clan. He was created a baronet in 1795. 
He died a few months afterwards. 



An Craoibhin Aoibhinn 

Douglas Hyde, LL.D. 

It is safe to say that not since the death of Parnell in 1891 
has Ireland been in such a state of excitement as at present. 
Certainly not since Parnell's time has any such deep and wide- 
spread interest in public affairs been manifested (except per- 
haps when the Liberal Government introduced their Council 
Bill) as has been shown over the University question during 
the last few months. Almost every elective body in Ireland 
has been thrown into excitement and forced to decide one 
way or another upon a question which would a priori appear 
to be the very last one in the world to arouse the interest of 
public bodies. For it is after all an academic question which 
has created all this trouble, namely, what sort of entrance 
examination is the new University going to have, and is the 
Irish language to be an essential subject in it. 

I have said that this is an academic question, and at first 
sight it appears, to the outsider, to be nothing more. But 
the instinct of the Irish people has discerned, and I think 
rightly discerned, that under an academic disguise there 
really lies involved a national question of the first magni- 
tude, a question in its own way as fraught with weighty 
possibilities for the future of the Irish nation as the land 
question or even the question of Home Rule itself 



Every one knows in a general way that the Catholics and 
Nationalists of Ireland have always been practically deprived 
of university education, or rather that they never had any 
university to which they could go without sacrificing their 
principles or running counter to their bishops. Trinity College 
(also called Dublin University), with a splendid income, 
was for over two hundred and fifty years the only university 
in Ireland, and no Catholic was admitted to a degree in it 
(although it was largely financed by the rents of land taken 
from the Catholic Irish) until 1793, nor could a Catholic 
obtain even a scholarship in it until the year 1873, when 
the Test Act was repealed. In 1845 Sir Eobert Peel created 
a second university of three colleges, one each in Belfast, 
Cork, and Galway, and called it the Queen's University. He 
meant thereby to solve the Catholic difficulty, and probably 
went as far as public opinion for the moment would let him, 
but the Colleges were almost from the outset dubbed the 
godless Colleges and were rejected by the Irish Catholics, 
for whom two at least of them had been intended. This 
Queen's University having failed to solve the difficulty was 
dissolved in 1879, and the Royal University of Ireland was 
established to take its place. This new University, however, 
was only an examining body. Candidates from the Queen's 
Colleges, or from any school that wished, or from private 
study, came up to Dublin once a year, and passed, if they 
could, the examinations held in the Royal Buildings. A 
degree of the Royal University of Ireland did not carry with 
it any assurance that its owner had ever attended lectures, 
had ever come under the guiding eye of a professor, had ever 
mixed with fellow-students, or, in a word, had ever absorbed 
into himself that finer essence of university education which 
is not to be expressed in terms of marks at an annual exami- 
nation. And now in 1909 Irish university education is once 
more thrown into the melting-pot, and two new Universities 
have taken or are to take the place of the old Royal, which 
will expire before next year. The College at Belfast has been 
enriched and converted into an independent University, 


chiefly designed for Presbyterians, while the Colleges of Cork 
and Galway are to have a new and richer sister added to them 
in Dublin, and these three are to form the National University 
of Ireland. This is to be a real University, which will give 
no degrees without attendance at lectures, and it is a 
University which will be national in the sense that it will be 
open to everybody and contain no tests, and it has been 
accepted by the spokesmen of the Catholic Church, and the 
Catholic Archbishop of Dublin has just been elected its 
Chancellor. It appears at first sight, and no doubt will turn 
out to be, a thoroughly satisfactory solution of the university 
difficulty, for though the first Senate has been nominated by 
the Crown, the next Senate, which will supersede the present 
one in five years' time, will be an academic Senate, on which 
the Crown has reserved to itself the power of appointing only 
four nominees out of thirty -five, and one of these four must 
be a woman. In other words it is the biggest piece of Home 
Rule ever conceded by England to Ireland since the establish- 
ment of Local Government. At the present moment a statutory 
committee, also appointed by the Crown, but consisting of 
men both trusted and reliable, are busy drafting statutes, 
considering what the site of the new College will be, deliberat- 
ing what chairs are to be founded, what professors appointed, 
how much money will be spent upon various subjects of 
learning, and so on, while the Senate meets occasionally to 
keep in touch with the Committee. 

And here it is that the country has suddenly, to the intense 
astonishment of those who did not know the popular feeling, 
sprung to its feet, galvanised as it were into an absorbing 
interest in the proceedings of the Senate. The question now 
fiercely debated in the newspapers, in the County Councils, 
in the Boards of Guardians, in the District Councils, in 
branches of the Gaelic League, in debating societies, in 
branches of the United Irish League, as well as at great 
public meetings in Dublin, Cork, Belfast, Limerick, Galway, 
and scores of other towns is this, * What is the Senate going 
to do about the Irish language ? Is it going to be merely an 


optional subject, or will they make it an essential ? ' That, of 
course, is what we do not yet know. 

The Gaelic League, while laying stress upon the fact that 
this is really a great national question and not a Gaelic League 
question at all, has of course thrown itself altogether upon the 
side of making Irish an essential for matriculation, and hun- 
dreds of thousands of people who have never joined the 
Gaelic League have taken the same side. Their argument is 
that now, at last, Ireland has got a real University of her own, 
which she can mould after her own fashion, and that she does 
not wish it to be a mere Catholic replica of Trinity College or 
a University to rear people for export, but a self-centred 
national institution, far more interested in raising Irishmen 
for home consumption than for colonial posts, and almost as 
much interested in turning them out good Irishmen as good 
scholars. They argue that if their University, for which they 
have made such unheard-of sacrifices in the past (generation 
after generation growing up without any university education 
whatever, and thus voluntarily condemning themselves to 
obscurity and poverty rather than go to Trinity College), is to 
be only an imitation of an English institution. Irishmen will 
be greatly distressed, and indeed violently indignant. They 
point out that in the long-run the money for this University 
will come out of their own pockets, and that consequently 
the people who pay for it have the right to make their voice 
heard as to the kind of University they desire. They insist 
that in spite of all the battles fought with the Boards of 
Primary and Intermediate Education, and all the concessions 
wrung from them during the last fifteen years, the old Irish 
nation must yet go down and Ireland become an English 
province — an unhappy, second-hand, second-rate English 
province — unless she now succeeds in nationalising her higher 
education also, and thus continuing the national language 
and tradition. 

In order to do this they put forward a very simple and 
at the same time a very far-reaching demand, which is that 
a knowledge of the Irish language should be essential for 


entrance into the new University. They point out that 
little or no hardship can be caused by this regulation, because 
of the six thousand or seven thousand Catholic students 
who went in for the intermediate examinations last year 
about eighty-five per cent, took up Irish. This shows that 
the Catholic secondary colleges have really and truly the 
machinery at hand for teaching Irish to every one, and that 
they do in fact teach it to all who go in for the inter- 
mediate examinations except some fifteen per cent. There 
can therefore be no difficulty for the Catholic schools and 
secondary colleges, which are the institutions which will 
naturally supply the new University with students, in making 
Irish one of the essential subjects for examination for entrance. 

It is being freely said in print in Ireland by Catholic 
laymen, many of them men of position and approved loyalty 
to the Church, like Colonel Moore, C.B., of Moore Hall, 
commander of the Connacht Rangers in the late African 
War, and Mr. Edward Martyn of TuUira Castle, who has 
given thousands of pounds towards the establishment of a 
Palestrina choir in the Catholic Cathedral in Dublin, that 
the reason for opposing Irish as an essential for matriculation 
is probably the desire on the part of certain authorities and 
orders to create in Dublin (ultimately of course at the ex- 
pense of the Irish taxpayer) a great Catholic University for 
all the English-speaking Catholics of the British Empire. 
Certain it is that the Standing Committee of the Catholic 
Bishops have gone out of their way to publicly disapprove 
of making Irish an essential, and the person who first led 
the campaign against it was the Jesuit Father who is the 
most celebrated educationalist in Ireland. 

It is needless to say that if this be really the desire of the 
ecclesiastical authorities, upon which subject I express no view, 
it is not that of the people. The people care nothing about 
the wants of the Empire, but very much indeed about the 
wants of Ireland, and they think that nothing in the 
world could be better for those snobbish Catholics who have 
been hitherto educated in utter ignorance of their country — 

VOL. v. Y 



and I fear not seldom in absolute hostility to it — than to 
make them at long last learn something about their own 
land, at least sufficient to let them know that they had 
a history, a language, and a country. The demand that Irish 
should be an essential for entrance is made with the intention 
of Irishising the secondary schools of the country. Boys and 
girls, over eighty per cent, of whom are already taught the 
language in those institutions, will then be all taught it, and 
taught it much better and more carefully ; and those superior 
people who either really despise or affect to despise the lan- 
guage and country of their ancestors will then have to fall 
into line with their humble or more patriotic brothers and 
sisters. Again, if Irish is made an essential for matriculation, 
it will ensure that Irish-minded people enter the University 
but it will not handicap anybody whatsoever inside the 
University itself, for it can, if the student wishes, be 
dropped by him the moment he begins to specialise. 

There have, however, been objections raised by the op- 
ponents of essential Irish which are worthy of the deepest 
consideration. The first is that Protestants would be pre- 
vented from going to the University because Irish is not 
taught in the Protestant schools, or is taught in very few of 
them. In answer to this it is said that the new University 
was not established for Protestants, who can go to Trinity 
College or Belfast if they will, and it is not fair to frustrate 
the desire of the nation for the sake of a possible handful of 
Protestant students. My own opinion on this point is that 
if the University be made frankly Irish it will absorb every 
national Protestant in the country, and gain in the long-run 
perhaps ten times as many Protestant students (many of 
whom are very national) as if it pursued a contrary course. 

A second objection is that there are many good Irishmen 
in England in the Civil Service and elsewhere, and that it 
would not be fair to demand a knowledge of Irish from their 
children. The answer is that there is a branch of the Gaelic 
League in every big city in England, where Irish can always 
be learnt, and that though there may be a residuum who 


could not so learn it, still they, like the Protestants, are few 
in number, and it is not worth while to warp the University 
in order to please them only. It has also been suggested 
that such students could be admitted to the university with- 
out a knowledge of Irish, provided they took out an Irish 
course before their degree. 

A third objection is that it would shut out the Colonial 
and American Irish. But the American Irish have already 
held many meetings of their own in many parts of the States, 
and protested loudly that no Irish American would dream of 
turning his back upon the splendid universities of the United 
States except for the one thing alone — the hope of a real 
Irish education. Besides special exceptions might be made 
in favour of Colonials and foreigners. This is a matter of 
detail. It seems certain that the University will attract 
many more Irish- Americans by making Irish an essential than 
by not doing so. 

The general objection against Irish as an essential is, as 
we have said, that it will drive away students from the new 
University and send them into Trinity College, Belfast, or 
London University. But nobody has yet specified, so far as I 
know, what students exactly, other than the classes I have men- 
tioned, will be driven away. In my opinion the new University 
would not lose more than a few dozens for the first few years, 
and none at all after that ; but on the other hand it would 
attract to itself after five years hundreds who would never 
have gone to it had it remained a West British institution 
with Irish as a mere optional subject, as in the present Royal 

I believe, and this is the last word, that as the Irish 
language did not die naturally but was killed by force, so a 
little gentle pressure is necessary for its restoration. I am 
sure that this can be applied without the smallest dijBaculty, 
or the slightest injustice to any one whatever, provided 
only that nothing be unduly rushed or hurried. I am 
persuaded that nothing less than making the national language 
essential in the national University can convince the Irish- 



speaking population that they really and truly possess in their 
language a great asset of the highest national importance, and 
that nothing short of this will bring home to the mind of 
the Gaelic Irishman that after three or four hundred years of 
oppression he is at last ceasing to be the under dog in Ireland, 
and I firmly believe that until he loses the sense of inferiority 
that has been so long and so sedulously impressed upon him 
the Irish nation can neither thrive nor prosper. 

That the country at large is of this way of thinking is 
shown by the fact that nineteen County Councils, including 
the whole of Munster and Connacht, two of the provinces 
that will most largely feed the University, have passed 
resolutions calling on the Senate to make Irish an essen- 
tial. . . . Several of these County Councils have gone further 
and pledged themselves to raise no rates for the University 
(they have the statutory power to raise a penny in the 
pound) unless this be done. About one hundred and 
thirty District and Urban Councils and Boards of Guardians 
out of about one hundred and seventy have adopted 
the same resolution. The General Council of County 
Councils (the nearest approach to an all-Ireland repre- 
sentative body) have adopted it also with only one dis- 
sentient. The great national convention held last February, 
at which two thousand delegates were present from County 
Councils, Borough Councils, District Councils and branches 
of the United Irish League from all over Ireland, passed 
the Gaelic League resolution by a majority of three to one, 
although Mr. John Dillon, M.P., in a most powerful speech 
tried to dissuade them from doing so. On no other sub- 
ject except that of Home Rule has the country been so unani- 
If the Senate consider themselves as in a fiduciary 


rather than a didactic position, and consequently bound to 
administer Irish education in the way demanded by the 
Irish people, then the result has been already decided. 

But the Senate may not take this view. 



William Mackay, Inverness 

This paper has been suggested, and, if I may use the word, 
inspired, by the remarkable volumes recently published by 
the Marchioness of Tullibardine — A Military History of 
Perthshire y 1660-1902, and A Military History of Perthshire, 
1899-1902} It can be said with truth that no county in 
Scotland has given to the British Empire so many soldiers 
and sailors of distinction as the great half-Highland, half- 
Lowland County of Perth, or has done more to place the 
deeds of the brave on record. Among other works dealing 
more or less with military affairs, it has given us Stewart of 
Garth's Sketches of the Highlanders, which, although pub- 
lished so long ago as 1822, is still the acknowledged authority 
on the military history of the Highlands ; The Atholl 
Chronicles, by the present Duke of Atholl ; The History of 
the Clan Gregor, by Miss Murray Macgregor, of Macgregor ; 
and now these two sumptuous volumes, of which Lady Tulli- 
bardine is editor, and, for the most part, author. 

The second of the volumes is, in her Ladyship's words, 
' intended in the first instance as an appreciation of the ser- 
vices rendered by Perthshire men who served in South Africa 
during the late war, and, indirectly, as a tribute to British 
soldiers and sailors in general.' It records the services of 
Perthshire men, and of men serving in Perthshire regiments in 
the Boer war, the last Soudan expedition, and the various 
campaigns on the Indian frontier during the decade which 
closed in 1903. The volume, with its numerous portraits — 
upwards of 1000 — of officers and men, is one of great interest, 
and its value will become even greater as the generations 
pass ; but to present-day readers, and especially to readers 
who have Highland blood in their veins, or are moved by 

1 Perth : R A. and J. Hay. Glasgow : J. Maclehose and Sons. Edinburgh : 
William Brown. 


Highland sentiment, the volume of supreme interest is the 
first and larger one. Within its 634 pages it contains a great 
quantity of material which no future historian of any Scottish 
district can safely leave unexamined. Primarily it is a 
Perthshire book, but the writers, in describing Perthshire 
battles, and recording events in which Perthshire soldiers 
and sailors took a part, of necessity give much information 
regarding men and occurrences in other parts of the country. 
And, while the volume is a rich storehouse on which future 
writers are certain to draw, it is much more than an accumu- 
lation of antiquarian facts. It is full of well-written literary 
articles, without a speck of dry-as-dustness about them ; and 
its portraits, illustrations, and maps are of the utmost interest 
and value. 

The work divides itself into six sections. The first con- 
sists of thirteen articles on the Perthshire Regiments of the 
Regular Army, of which the Editor contributes five, Mr. 
Andrew Eoss four, and Mr. Allan M'Aulay, the Duke of 
Atholl, Mr. W. B. Blaikie, and Sir James Ramsay of BamfF 
one each. These run from the Earl of AthoU's and Major- 
General William Drummond's Troops of Horse, 1666-67, to 
the 116th Regiment of Foot, 1794-95. The second section 
is taken up with nine articles on the Reserve Forces of 
Perthshire, from the seventeenth to the twentieth centuries, 
six of which are by the Editor, one by her and Colonel 
Smythe of Methven, and two by Mr. Ross. Of the three 
articles on battles fought in Perthshire, which fill the third 
section. Sir Alexander Muir Mackenzie of Delvine contri- 
butes the one on ' Some Early Perthshire Battles,' while 
those on the * Battle of Killiecrankie and the Battle of 
SherifFmuir ' are by the Editor. The fourth section contains 
articles by Mr. W. B. Blaikie on * Perthshire in the 'Fifteen 
and the Afiair of Glenshiel,' ' Perthshire in the 'Forty-five ' 
and ' Lord George Murray ' ; and the fifth consists of forty- six 
sketches by the Editor, Miss Eleanor C. Sellar, Mrs. W. J. 
Watson, Miss Murray Macgregor, Mr. Graham Hope, Mr. 
Andrew Ross, Mr. W. B. Blaikie, and Mr. Blaikie Murdoch, 


of ' Perthshire's Men of Action/ among whom we find men 
whose reputation is world-wide, from the Marquis of Mon- 
trose, 1612-50, to Sir Charles Metcalfe Macgregor, 1840-87. 
Of these numerous contributions we can only refer to 
a few of those which are likely to prove of most interest 
to Highlanders. 

The origin of the Black Watch (of which Mr. Ross and 
Mr. M'Aulay write) is traced to the Independent Companies 
which were formed as early as 1667, for the purpose of 
'securing the peace of the Highlands,' and which were re- 
cruited from clansmen all over the Highlands, and com- 
manded by representatives of influential Highland families. 
In 1725 six companies of Highlanders were raised, which 
in time became known as Am Freiceadan Duhh, or * The 
Black Watch,' from the contrast of the ' sombreness of their 
attire, their dark-hued tartan, and general lack of military 
embellishment,' to the bright uniform of the Saighdearan 
Dearg, or *Red Soldiers.' In 1740 these companies were 
embodied as a Regiment of the Line at Aberfeldy. The 
regiment is therefore justly enough claimed by Perthshire, 
but the lists given in this volume show that it and the com- 
panies which were merged into it contain many names from 
the counties of Inverness, Ross, Banff, Argyll, and Dum- 
barton, including the name of Simon, Lord Lovat. 

In connection with the raising, in 1780, of the 73rd or 
Perthshire Regiment (originally the 2nd Battalion of the 
Black Watch), Mr. Blaikie commends the Highlanders for 
loyally accepting the inevitable after the feelings raised by 
the events connected with the 'Forty-five had subsided, and 
patriotically placing their services at the disposal of their 
country, which was then and for many years afterwards in 
much need of them. ' The list of the original officers 
of the second battalion of the 42nd,' he writes, * shows 
many historic Highland names, both Whig and Jacobite. 
The colonel was Lord John Murray, who had com- 
manded the Royal Highland Regiment since 1745. The 
lieutenant - colonel was Norman Macleod of Macleod, 



grandson and successor of the Macleod who so fiercely- 
opposed Prince Charles. The major was Patrick Graeme, 
second son of the Jacobite Laird of Inchbrakie, who married 
a daughter of Oliphant of Gask. Among the captains and 
subalterns were James Drummond, who afterwards bore the 
historic title of Lord Perth; Colin Campbell, a nephew of 
Glenure, the victim of the Appin murder; John Grant, 
grandson of the Jacobite Chief of Glenmoriston ; Alexander 
Macgregor of Balhaldies, son of the Jacobite agent of the 
previous generation ; and Robert Robertson, a younger son 
of Lude, and a grandson of "Lady Lude" of the Torty-five, 
the most ardent Jacobite in Perthshire.' The same prefer- 
ence of country to party was shown in connection with other 
Highland regiments. The most striking instances, perhaps, 
are the raising of the Eraser Regiment by Lord Lovat's 
eldest son, Simon Eraser, who had commanded his clan in 
Prince Charles's interest, and the raising of the 73rd Regi- 
ment by Lord Macleod, who, with his father, the Earl of 
Cromartie, had been out in the same cause. 

The story of the Battle of Killiecrankie is interestingly 
told by the Editor, who discusses the route taken by Dundee 
from Blair to Killiecrankie, and the true site of the battle. 
Upon these points much controversy has taken place, but 
Lady Tullibardine appears to have conclusively proved that 
Dundee marched his main force up the left bank of the 
Fender, behind the hill of Lude, and, proceeding down the 
Clune Burn, gave battle to Mackay on the lower slopes of 
Craig Eallaich, a short distance behind, or to the north of, 
Urrard House. A helpful map accompanies the article. 

Of the many Perthshire personages of whom accounts are 
given, two of the most interesting are the Marquess of Tulli- 
bardine and Lord George Murray, brothers, who in defiance 
of the wishes of their father, the first Duke of Atholl, joined 
the Earl of Mar in the 'Fifteen. On the collapse of the 
rising, they escaped to the Hebrides, from which they sailed 
for France. Tullibardine was attainted, and lost his birth- 
right, his younger brother. Lord James Murray, taking his 


place in the AthoU title and estates. TuUibardine com- 
manded the Jacobites in the Affair of Glenshiel in 1719. 
With a price of £2000 on his head, he wandered for a time 
in Glengarry, Knoydart, and the Hebrides. He ultimately 
found his way to France, where he resided until 1745, * often 
in great poverty, sometimes in prison for debt.* Finally, he 
accompanied Prince Charles to Scotland, unfurled the 
standard at Glenfinnan, and on the march south rested with 
the Prince for a few days in his ancestral castle of Blair. 
' His reception,' remarks Mr. Blaikie, ' might well be hailed 
as a happy omen by the disinherited Prince Charles, for no 
sooner had the Marquess set foot in Atholl than he was met 
by " men, women, and children who came running from their 
houses, kissing and caressing their master, whom they had 
not seen for thirty years " ; and he was given a welcome 
evincing "the strongest affection, which could not fail to 
move every generous mind with a mixture of grief and joy." 
The people of Atholl accepted him as their Duke, and his 
arrival gave a great impetus to the Cause.' But the Cause 
was not destined to succeed. After Culloden, TuUibardine 
wandered in Badenoch, Eannoch, Balquidder, and the Loch 
Lomond district, so ill and weak that he had to be carried in 
a pannier on horseback, until, betrayed by William Buchanan, 
younger of Drummikill, who fell before the £1000 blood-money 
— never paid ! — when the starving Seven Men of Glen- 
moriston were successfully resisting the £30,000 bribe, he 
was captured, sent to London and imprisoned in the Tower, 
where he soon died, at the age of fifty-seven. 

The career of Lord George was equally romantic. He 
joined the Expedition of 1719, and was wounded while com- 
manding the right wing at Glenshiel, on 10th June. He 
wandered among the mountains of Inverness-shire, Strath- 
bogie, and Mar until the following April, when he crossed to 
Holland. He was pardoned in 1725, and, returning to Scot- 
land, married and settled down in the old house of TuUi- 
bardine as a quiet, country gentleman, the friend and adviser 
of his neighbours, delighting in husbandry, gardening, and 



sport. Until 1745 he lived the most peaceful of lives, taking 
no part in plot or intrigue; and the world, and probably 
himself, came to believe that he had abandoned the Cause of 
the Stewarts. But a letter written by Prince Charles to him 
from Blair Castle changed all, and, on 4th September, he joined 
his brother in the Jacobite army at Perth, and became Lieu- 
tenant-General. He faithfully adhered to the Cause until all 
was ended at Culloden, but, as an experienced soldier, who in 
the estimation of Mr. Blaikie ' ranks with Montrose and 
Dundee as one of the great leaders of Highlanders,' he had 
nothing but contempt for the capacity of the Irish adven- 
turers who were the Prince's advisers ; and, unfortunately for 
himself, he took no pains to conceal his feelings. The result 
was that almost from the outset he suffered from the ill-will 
of the Irishmen, and from the suspicion of the Prince. He ap- 
proved of the proposed surprise march from Culloden to Nairn, 
but, when it became evident that the project had failed, he, not- 
withstanding the Prince's orders to the contrary, turned back 
the Highlanders to Culloden, where they awaited Cumber- 
land's attack. Charges of treachery were hurled at his head, 
and the famous John Boy Stewart, with true Celtic impulse, 
came to believe that they were true. That soldier bard, in 
his poem on Culloden Day, does not spare his discredited 
chief :— 

Is mor eucoir an luchd-6rduigh, 
An f hull ud a dh6rtadh le foill ; 
Mo sheachd mallachd aig De6rsa, 
Fhuair e 'n lath' ud air 6rdugli dha f^in ! 

Mheall e sinne le 'ch6mliradh, 

'S gu'n robh ar barail ro mhdir air r'a linn. 

[Great is the iniquity of the commanders, 
To have spilt that blood with treachery ; 
My seven curses on George, 
He got that day to his own ordering ! 

He deceived us with his conversation, 

And that our opinion of him was too high in his time.^ 


And in another lay on the same unhappy day, Stewart 
returns to the charge : — 

Mas fior an d^na gu' cheann, 

Gu 'n robh Achan 's a' champ — 

Dearg mheirleach nan raud [?] 's nam breugan ! 

B'e sin an Seanalair m6r ! 
Gr^in is mallachd an t-sl6igh ! 
Reic e onoir 's a ch6ir air eucoir ! 

Thionndaidh e 'choileir 's a chledc, 

Air son an sporain bu mh6 — 

Rinn sud dolaidh do shedid righ Seumas ! 

[If my lay be true to its end, 
There was an Achan in the camp — 
Fell thief, full of deceits [?] and lies. 

That was the great General ! 

The loathing and the curse of the people ! 

He sold his honour and his integrity for evil ! 

He turned his collar and his cloak 

For the purse that was biggest — 

Which did hurt to the heroes of King James !] 

Although with the ordinary clansmen, for whose comfort 
and well-being he had always been solicitous, Lord George 
was popular, many of them followed John Roy Stewart in 
the belief in his guilt. The general verdict of chiefs and 
officers was, however, in his favour. 

Many years after Culloden, that devoted Jacobite without 
guile, Alexander MacNab of Inishewen, who had himself been 
a captain in the Prince's army, and had in the days of trouble 
befriended the Glenmoriston saviours of Prince Charles, wrote 
a Vindication of Lord George which, so far as I am aware, 
has not hitherto been printed. In it he attributes the charge 
to private malice, and declares : ' From my own observations, 
Lord George's conduct was not only blameless, but likewise 
true and loyal to his Prince, from his first entering into the 
service until the whole affair was over.' 



The Vindication — a MS. copy of which is in my possession 
— is worth quoting : — 

* In the first place, it was owing to his [Lord George's] intelligence 
and advice we retreated from Derby, having received information 
that General Wade was to the east, the Duke of Cumberland march- 
ing towards the centre, and Ligoneer at Newcastle-under-Line, within 
six miles of Derby, so that we were nearly surrounded by these three 
different armies. 

' In the second place, previous to the battle of Falkirk, Lord George 
marched from that town before daylight to Linlithgow, to carry off 
all the provisions and forage which General Hawley had ordered to 
be ready for the use of his own troops. General Hawley's advance 
guard unexpectedly met ours at the east end of Linlithgow, upon 
which they retired to General Hawley. Immediately we marched 
out of the town to meet Hawley, when we observed he had retreated 
as far as Wineburgh, and, imagining he had gone back to Edinburgh, 
we returned to Linlithgow to execute our first design. But Hawley, 
marching to Bathgate, the first information we had of his route was 
seeing his troops advancing in three colums above the town. Im- 
mediately Lord George ordered the bagpipes to play and march 
slowly through the town to make a point to meet General Hawley 
till all our men were out of the houses, when, making a front of our 
rear, we retreated to Falkirk, the enemy pursuing us by the back 
of the town in order to intercept us before passing the Bridge of Lin- 
lithgow, so that their front came to the Braehead at the one end when 
our rear was at the other. If Lord George had been so inclined, it 
was easy for him, without the least suspicion upon his part, to have 
frustrated that very day the whole of his Prince's views, as matters 
were situated. 

* Thirdly, at the battle of Falkirk he shewed both courage and 
good conduct, being placed on the right wing. Standing himself in 
the front line, he put his wig in his pocket, and, scragging his bonnet, 
gave orders not to fire till the dragoons had fired first, as they made 
several attempts to make us discharge first. This I was eye-witness 
to, being placed at a small distance from his Lordship, where John 
Roy Stewart and Mr. Oliphant of Gask stood beside him. The 
Dragoons being broke by our fire, and a great number killed, as they 
were so near, the Highlanders threw away their guns to attack them 
sword in hand, when Lord George sent Mr. Oliphant, his aide-de- 
camp, ordering the men to take up their guns and charge immedi- 
ately, as he supposed the infantry to be nigh the Dragoons, as there 
was a small eminence that intercepted our view, and would be ready 


to receive us with their fire ; but he could not prevail with the common 
soldiers from rushing forward and meeting the Glasgow militia behind 
the Dragoons, as he at first judiciously suspected. 

' In the fourth place, before the Battle of CuUoden we rested a 
night and part of two days on CuUoden Muir, expecting the enemy 
from Nairn, during which time we received no refreshment, only a 
hard sea biscuit each man towards the evening of the second day, 
and as soon as it turned dark that night we marched to surprise and 
attack the enemy in their camp at Nairn before daylight, and Lord 
George in front. The tediousness of our march through bad roads and 
bad weather, joined to the darkness of the night, so that you could 
not decern a white from a black horse altho' standing beside you, 
retarded our march so much that at break of day we were two miles 
from Nairn, so that Lord George and the whole Commanding officers 
saw it prudent to retire for that day, as the troops were so much 
fatigued, until they got some refreshment and rest, not expecting 
the enemy to follow them that day, as it did not promise to be fair 
and, tho' this was judged prudent by the whole Commanding 
Officers, yet the common soldiers reflected upon Lord George for the 
fatigue and retreat, as if he had corresponded with the enemy, which 
was merely impossible at that time. The most of our army went to 
Inverness for some refreshment, the rest remained with the Prince 
about CuUoden House, when information was brought that the Enemy 
were on their march to CuUoden Muir. Immediately a party of horse 
were dispatched to reconnoitre the enemy, and their advanced guard 
met our reconnoitring party on the height about a mile South-East 
of CuUoden House, and immediately retired upon seeing us. The 
Prince, with all that remained of his army about CuUoden House, 
marched directly up the hill, when the enemy were on their march in 
three colums, about a mile distant, and, when those at Inverness 
were informed of it, each ran with the best speed they could, and so 
were coming up in different parties without observing order, and, as 
I was afterwards informed, the Prince sent orders to Lord George to 
attack immediately with the handful of men that remained, before 
the Enemy had formed, which Lord George refused to do till the 
whole would come up from Inverness ; for a gentleman that was pre- 
sent informed me of a conversation that passed betwixt the Prince 
and John Roy Stewart in the suilking [skulking] time, when the 
former expressing his displeasure of Lord George's conduct at 
CuUoden, John Boy Stewart replied, had it been any other than his 
Highness, he could take upon him to vindicate Lord George's Con- 
duct. Then the Prince said, " WeU, John, I am another person, let 



me hear your vindication " ; after which John Roy Stewart vindicated 
Lord George ; the Prince then asked, " Well, John, have you done ? " 
John replied, Please his Highness, he had. " Well," says the Prince, 
" before the Enemy had formed, I sent Lord George an Aide-de-Camp 
with orders to attack immediately, in which if I had been obeyed I 
would drive their front in their rear ; which order I repeated several 
times without being obeyed, and, by the time the enemy had formed, 
I sent orders to the Duke of Perth, who immediately obeyed, but it 
was then too late. I know," continued he, " Lord George would make 
a very good Dragoon, but he knows very little of the General " ; and 
so the conversation ended ; but he did not express during the whole 
the least insinuation or suspicion of his disloyalty in any manner, 
only he was highly displeased with his disobeying orders at the Battle 
of CuUoden. 

' It was no matter of surprise that Lord George was unwilling to 
engage with the few who came up the hill at first, till the whole at 
Inverness would arrive ; for, as I heard afterwards, it was computed 
we only had seventeen hundred in our front, and only line, for we 
had no other except Lord John Drummond's regiment, and the 
Prince's Guard, amounting to about two hundred, and only one field 
piece, and we were flanked on the right by the Argyllshire Militia, 
and Dragoons, and none to cover the horse on our left ; most of the 
Regiments there wanted near a third of their men, who went to see 
their wives at home, but did not come up in time, Cluny Macpherson 
and all his men, with Lord Cromarty's Regiment, Barisdale and the 
Macgregors, with such others as went to Sutherland to collect the 
cess, as our finances were quite exhausted ; so that it was no matter 
of surprise that Lord George should wait the coming up of those at 
Inverness, considering the fewness of the number in whole, before 
engaging the Enemy, as they had at least thrice our number, with 
suitable Artillery. I was well informed that after Lord George went 
abroad he employed the Scots College at Paris to receive all the 
accusations against him, which he would make it his business to 
make satisfactory answers to; but I did not hear of one single 
act of accusation having been lodged against him. 

* I have no motive or inducement for the above vindication but 
merely doing justice to injured innocence, which I am sure is the 
case here, and that I flatter myself there are few in life now who knew 
the different circumstances as I did. At Inishewen, the fourteenth 
of March, Seventeen hundred and ninety-five years. 

'Alexr. MacNab.' 


In view of John Roy Stewart's poetic maledictions, 
MacNab's reference to his opinion of Lord George is curious, 
and the questions arise — When did Stewart become con- 
vinced of Lord George's guilt? and — Was the change of 
opinion the result of his intercourse in France with Prince 
Charles's Irish officers? Lord George died an exile in 1760, 
thirty-five years before Inishewen wrote his Vindication, and 
eleven years after the death of the other exile, John Roy 
Stewart. Four years after Lord George's death his son 
became Duke of AthoU. 


W. J. Watson 


Old Welsh tros, across, modern Welsh traws, is paralleled 
in several Perthshire names. To the south of Loch Rannoch 
is Troscraig, Cross-rock, applied to a rock which lies athwart 
the general run of its neighbours. The same base with ex- 
tensions is seen in na Trdisichean, the Trossachs, i.e. the 
places lying athwart, between Loch Katrine and Loch 
Achray. This exactly describes the Trossachs, which fill the 
gap at the end of Loch Katrine so completely that Loch 
Katrine's waters have to seek a way for themselves between 
the Trossachs and the foot of Ben Venue. The curious name 
Throsk in Stirlingshire, situated near the Forth, may be a 
derivative of tros as crosg, a cross place, is from crois or 
rather cross, a cross. With this again may be compared the 
great hill Trosgaich at the north end of Loch Lomond, over- 
looking Ldirig Airnein, Arnan's crossing ; Trosgaich, crossing 
place, has been transferred from the lairig or crossing, to the 
hill above it. But the old meaning still lingers, for a good 
authority of his own accord declined to say definitely whether 
Trosgaich is the name of the hill or not rather of the pass. 

Tros may be old Pictish. On the other hand it may be 
Strathclyde Welsh. Loch Lomond itself is in Welsh Llyn 


Llumonwy, Lake of Lumon-water, which seems to be plain 
Welsh for Beacon-water, and llumon being borrowed from 
Latin lumens as its phonetics show, is at any rate not a 
native Pictish term. The probability is that the name was 
given by the Strathclyde Britons from beacon fires on Ben 
Lomond. Gaelic has taken over the name as Loch Laoiminn, 
in north Gaelic Loch Laomuinn, with phonetics influenced by 
the personal and hero name Laomuinn (Norse Law-man) with 
which it has no real connection. With Ben Lomond may be 
compared the Welsh Plynlimmon, for Pumlumon. Two or 
three miles beyond Trosgaich, as one goes up Glenfalloch, is 
Clach nam Breatan, the Britons* stone, a great roughly 
oblong slab about ten feet long, standing at an angle of 
about 30° on a cairn of moraine matter. The stone is not 
visible from the public road, except, I think, at one particular 
point, but may be readily located by leaving the road at 
a point a little over a mile beyond Glenfalloch farm (properly 
Clachnambreatan farm) before one comes to the Falls of 
Falloch, and, keeping to the left, crossing the railway line 
above the powder magazine, which latter will serve as a guide 
when to leave the public road. There are many stones on 
the hillside, but Clach nam Breatan is too conspicuous to 
be missed or mistaken. It is well to be thus minute, for it 
is too probable that in a few years it might be impossible to 
identify it from local information. 

There are several other names in the Menteith district 
which might reasonably be claimed as Strathclyde Welsh, but 
these may be reserved for discussion at some other time. 

esc, 'Icr/ca. 

The old Irish esc, water, Ptolemy's 'la-Ka, whence the river 
names Exe, Esk, Welsh Usg, appears in Irish in the term 
Murrisc, a sea-fen, sea-swamp, and in easgaidh, a quagmire. 
Hence, also, our Gaelic easgann, Old Irish escung, fen-snake 
{ung, Latin anguis ^). The derivative easgaidh seems to be 
obsolete in Scottish Gaelic, but it appears in at least two 

^ MacBapin's EtymologiccU Dictionary. 


northern place-names. The eastern part of the present 
farm of Clashnabuiack, Alness, Eoss-shire, was formerly a 
distinct holding, containing a swampy hollow now drained, 
and called in Gaelic PoUaisgidh, for poll + easgaidh, meaning 
fen-hollow. The other instance occurs at the west end of 
Loch Ruthven, at the head of Strathnairn, where there is 
a low-lying farm, much of it once swampy, called Aberskye 
(accented on first syllable), in Gaelic Ahairsgidh, Here 
ahar is the term seen also in Loch-aber, Irish abar, marshy 
land, now eabar, mud, in spoken Scottish Gaelic. Thus 
Aberskye means mud-fen. The contraction of Ahareasgaidh 
into Ahairsgidh is due to the stress on the first part of the 
compound. Esky Loch ^ is probably a third instance ; but 
more should be forthcoming. 


The primary meaning of henn is ' horn,' hence * peak,' and 
in Ireland the bens are peaked hills. With us in Scotland 
the term, in the oblique form heinn, is extended to apply to 
any hill without regard to shape, though traces of the old 
usage are common. The diminutive hinnean always denotes 
a peaked hill, sometimes by no means diminutive in size. The 
Binnean in Glendochart is 3821 feet in height. The adjec- 
tive heannach always means ' peaked,' and is applied to a 
variety of things, including lochs : Loch Beannach, horned 
loch, is a common name, usually mistranslated. The classical 
instance is Lacus Benacus (Bennacus) in the north of Italy, 
now Laco de Garda, so called from its running to a horn. The 
same word with extension is found in Loch Vennachar, Gael. 
Loch Bheannchair, practically the horned loch, or rather loch 
of the horn-shaped place. In Boss-shire we have the dupli- 
cate Loch Bheannacharan, with still another extension. It 
may be noted that croc, antler, is used in a way exactly 
similar ; Loch Crdcach, antlered loch ; Lochan na Crdice, 
lochlet of the antler. In all these instances the horn is 

^ W. J. N. Liddall's Place-Names of Fife and Kinross. 
VOL. v. Z 



horizontal, not vertical. The vertical meaning is seen, how- 
ever, in Benly, Gaelic Binniligh, a pointed hill at Abriachan, 
Inverness, from henn-^-lach, place of the horn or peak. A 
more recondite case is found in Ross-shire in the hill-name 
Benndealt, which was long obscure to me. The hill consists 
of a ridge dipping towards the middle and having a distinct 
peak at each end. When one remembers that the Ross-shire 
Gaelic for saddle is dialt (not diollaid) the meaning is plainly 
seen to be * peak-saddle.' The numerous places called 
Benchar, Banchor, Bangor, Banchory, are all of the same 
derivation, but whether the horn in these is horizontal or 
vertical requires local knowledge in each particular case to 

mion; gag. 

The adjective mion, small (Latin min-or), occurs very 
seldom in names of places. It is seen in Minard on Loch Fyne, 
mion 4- aird, small cape, and in the Mionchnoc, the little hill, 
to the west of Fyrish, Novar. On Gordon of Straloch's Map 
(1641-8)appears 'Mountains . . . Minigeg' in the Struan 
neighbourhood, and the Grampian range here is still called 
Monadh Mion-gaig, the mountain range of * Minigeg.' Here 
the second element is gag, a cleft, the whole meaning ' little 
cleft,' as distinguished from the various other names in- 
volving gag in that wild region. Best known of these is 
Gaick, in Gaelic Gaig (locative case), of sinister reputation. 
There are also Garhhgag, rough cleft, Singaig, old cleft, and 
Mungaig, this last involving mun, which is probably of same 
root as monadh. The latter two names, and also Miongaig, 
have the short indefinite or ' sporadic * vowel sound between 
the two parts of the compound. The use of gag in this 
district is one of the many instances of the fondness of 
special localities for special terms. There may be added 
Baile na Gaig, near Dochgarroch, Inverness, a cosy stead, 
with a cleft in the ridge immediately behind it, also the 
stream Faragaig, Stratherrick. 


ith, iodh, ithir. 

In Old Irish the generic term for corn is ithj genitive etho. 
One of the plains of Ireland, cleared by the people of Part- 
holon (some eight generations after the Flood, say the 
legends) was Mag Ita or Mag loth, thus giving corn-grow- 
ing in Ireland a high antiquity. The word is obsolete with 
us, except in the compound iodhlann (iodh + lann), a corn- 
yard. It occurs, however, in a few names of places best 
known of which is Tiree, ' Tir-iodh iosal an e6rna,' low-lying 
Tiree of the barley, famed for its fertility even in the sixth 
century, when it was tilled by Columban monks. Adamnan 
Latinises it as Ethica Insula and its sea as Ethicum Pelagus, 
showing, I suppose, that in his time the Gaelic of it was Tir- 

From ith is formed ithir, corn- land, and I venture to think 
that to this we may look for the derivation of the names 
Strathyre and Stronyre at the head of Loch Lubnaig. 
Stronyre is a promontory, flat and fertile, by the loch side, 
forming part of the farm of Laggan. In Gaelic it is Srdn- 
eadhair, and Strathyre is Srath-eadhair, though here the th 
of srath is in pronunciation rather made to go with the 
second part, whence a local explanation as * Strath of the 
tether ' (teadhair) with reference to the windings of the quiet 
Balhhaig which flows through it. But the pronunciation of 
Srdn-eadhair gives the key to the right division, and I 
think that the names mean Point and Strath of the corn- 
land. I venture further to identify Strathyre with the place 
mentioned in the Annals of Ulster, under date 653 : ' Bellum 
Sratho Ethairt ubi Duncath mac Conaing cecidit,' the battle 
of Strath- ethart, in which fell Duncan, son of Conang. 
Conang was son of Aedan, King of Dalriada, who died in 
621 A.D. 

Monzie, in Strathearn, appears on record c. 1230 as 
Mugedha; 1268, Monyhge; 1282, Mothyethe ; 1283, Muyhe; 
and the modern Gaelic is Magh-eadh. This, as has been 
pointed out in an appendix to the recently published Charters 


of Inchqffray Abbey, may be explained with tolerable cer- 
tainty as * Plain of Corn/ a parallel to the Irish Magh loth. 
It will be noted how closely the modern Gaelic form co- 
incides with the oldest charter spelling ; the spelling of 1283 
is really a very fair phonetic attempt at the same sound, and 
of value as showing that the Gaelic then was exactly what it 
is now. The puzzling n, which appears both in the English 
form and in the spelling of 1268, is explained by Professor 
Mackinnon as the ancient n- after neuters, magh (Gaulish 
mag OS mages-) having been originally neuter. Very similar 
is the case of the adjacent Monzievaird, which appears in the 
Inchaffray Charters as 1203, Monewarde; 1234, 1239, Moy- 
theuard; 1265, Mony vard ; while the present day Gaelic is 
Magh'bhard. If it is curious that the old n should be 
represented in the charter spellings of these names, it is still 
more curious that it has stuck in their modern Englished 
forms. Yet these are only examples of a large class of 
names where very ancient forms are preserved after the 
manner of fossils in modern English. Lovat, for instance, 
which is doubtless Pictish (root lov, wash), is never heard 
in Gaelic speech ; it is always A' Mhor'oich, ' the sea- plain,' 
possibly a translation made when the meaning of the Pictish 
Lovat was still understood. Balkeith, near Tain, is in Gaelic 
Baile na Goille, also very possibly a translation from the 
Pictish. The modern Gaelic of Daviot near Inverness is 
Deimhidh, which Dr. MacBain happily identified as to 
derivation with the Welsh Demetae, now Dyfed. From 
about 1203 onwards, Daviot appears on record as Deveth ; 
the Aberdeen Daviot appears in early documents as Davy- 
oth. Here and in many other cases we have the curious 
phenomenon of a sort of double nomenclature, the present 
day Gaelic and the English forms, the former showing the 
usual regular phonetic changes, the latter preserving fossi- 
lised a very old pronunciation. These English forms have 
been explained as revivals ; but this theory, while it may 
explain some instances, seems to be on the whole inadequate, 
and the whole subject deserves consideration. 



The following occurred in the island of Grimsey, North Uist, 
during the month of February 1906. It happened that a 
man from Benbecula came to Grimsey to purchase a horse. 
He was aware that a crofter named MacAulay, residing at 
Mas-Ghrimisa, had a horse to sell, but knew also that the 
price would be more than he could give, as the horse was of 
a handsome, showy breed. In his course through the island 
he passed MacAulay's house, spoke a few words in passing, 
and said a word in praise of MacAulay's horse. 

That evening the horse got suddenly very ill. MacAulay 
tried such remedies as were known to him, but as these did 
not cure, he bethought himself of a woman in the neighbour- 
hood who had the power to counteract the evil-eye. This 
she used by means of ' Eolas-an-t-snathlain,' the Charm of 
the thread. MacAulay told her of his horse's illness. She at 
once set about the charm, procured three pieces of woollen 
thread, red, blue, and green, twined each into a three-stranded 
thread, knotted them together, and gave the complete thread 
to MacAulay with instructions to tie it round the tail of 
the sick horse on the bony stump under the long hair of 
the tail. This MacAulay did, and as a matter of fact the 
horse got better within an hour. 

Mrs. Maclean, the operator, used her fingers and teeth to 
twine the thread, during which she crooned the rune given 

The writer heard of the circumstances, and went to 
inquire of Mrs. Maclean regarding it. She frankly told that 
she had the power, and that her mother had it before her ; 
that she is not conscious of any ' possession,' but simply goes 
on always believing toward success, never towards defeat ; 
that she was never unsuccessful in any case ; that she can 
at once tell whether the evil or illness has arisen from an evil, 
envious wish or is merely accidental ; if the latter she has no 
difficulty, nor has she any opposition to overcome, and she 


stops at once ; if the former {i.e. arising from an envious 
heart) she distinctly knows and feels opposition, and has to 
brace herself, to a greater or less degree, to stem and over- 
come the influence against her. If the struggle is severe she 
emerges from the contest quite exhausted, and on several 
occasions had to keep her bed for a day or two ; on one 
occasion she had to do so for four days. 

The writer asked her if she knew how she might keep 
or lose the faculty or gift. She replied that if she began at 
any time to live a wicked, abandoned life, gave up prayer 
and cultivating the Christian graces, she was fully persuaded 
that the faculty or capacity would * wane and fade away and 
disappear' (chrionadh agus sheargadh e, agus chaillinn e). 
Mrs. Maclean is known as a woman of integrity and purity 
of life. 

What the power is or what it consists of she could not 
say. One thing is plain, that whatever it be it is natural, or 
rather a natural development of a sense that is usually dor- 
mant. Mrs. Maclean has been uniformly successful also as 
a local midwife (bean-ghluin), and mentioned that when 
called to attend she feels herself helpless in the grasp — 
the friendly grasp — of a power that controls her, and to this 
she attributes her success in that line. The following is the 
Eolas she used in counteracting the evil eye : — 

Tha mi tilleadh gonadh sul ; 
Ann an ainm Eigh nan Dul. 
A uchd Pheadair, a uchd Phoil : 

Paidir Moire a h-aon, 

Paidir Moire a dha, 

Paidir Moire a tri, 

Paidir Moire a ceithir, 

Paidir Moire a cuig, 

Paidir Moire a sia, 

Paidir Moire a seachd, 
Bitheadh tusa slan an nochd, 
Tog suas a Dhe nan Dul. 
Tog suas a Chriosda chaomh, 

An ainm an Athar, 

An ainm a' Mine — Amen. 



From the MSS. of the late Rev. Father Allan Macdonald 

Bha 'ad ag obair bho ghrein gu grein air chor 's gu'n robh 
'ad ainmeil mu dheireadh. 'S ann 's a Chlaigionn a bha 'ad 
a fuireach. Mu 'n ^m am bheil mi dol a dheanamh beagan 
seanchais mu dheaghainn bha iad arm an t-athair agus a thriuir 
mhac, dithis glic agus am fear eile bha car 'g a dhith. Cha 
robh am fear gorach ri piobaireachd idir. Cha togadh e i. 
Cha robh e ach ag obair air tuathanachas. Tha loch ann an 
Smearcleit ris an can iad an Loch Briste agus tha ad ag radh 
gur e na piobairean, an km a bhi spaidsearachd 's a seinn na 
pioba, a chladhaich an loch. 'S ann a bh' ann roimhe blianag 
reidh a bha na cuidhe 's tha 'n garadh ri f haicinn f hathast air 
gach taobh dha 'n loch. 

Bha lagh aca 's a bhaile agus crodh a bhaile uile gu leir 
anns a chuidhe agus chuir iad cruinn co bhiodh 'g fhaire na 
cuidhe h-uile h-oidhche, 'dithis mu seach gus an ruitheadh e air 
a bhaile. An gille luideach a bha so aig a phiobaire dh' f halbh 
e fhein agus nighean nabaidh a bh' aige a dh' fhaire na cuidhe. 

Chunnaic iad an Sithean Ruadh os cionn tigh Eoghainn 'ic 
Caluim a fosgladh. Dh' iarr esan air an nighin am brod 
snathaid gun chro a bh'aice na brollach 's gu'n reachadh e dha'n 
t-sithein 's e fosgailte. Cha robh ise deonach a toirt da. 
Bhuail i air trod ris ag radh c' aite am fanadh ise s gu 'm biodh 
i marbh leis an eagal ann an sud leatha fhein. * Tha chead 
agad a bhi marbh ach thoir thusa dhomh am brod snathaid.' 
Nuair a dhubh dh' f hairtlich air gu 'n tugadh i dha e thug e 
cruinn leum h-uice 's thug e bh'uaip e 'g a h-aindeoin. 
Dh'f hag e ise aig a chachaileith 's mach a ghabh e agus chaidh 
e dh'an t- Sithean Ruadh. Chuir e 'm brod anns an arddorus. 
Cho luath 's a chaidh e stigh dh' fhaighneachd iad dheth 
c' aite robh e dol no gu de 'n ealain a bha e 'g iarraidh. ' S i 
phiobaireachd an ealain a tha mise g iarraidh.' Thuirt leth- 
shean duine a bh' ann a sin e thighinn far an robh esan 's gu 'n 
tugadh e sud da. ' Co dhu ibh 's f hearr leat tlachd a bhi agad 


f hein dha 'n phiob na tlachd a bhi aig c^ch dhith V os an 
sitheach. ' Bu mhath leum tlachd a bhi againn dhith le cheile, 
agam fhein 's aig ckch.' * Teann a nail agus fosgail do bhial 
agus cuiridh mise mo theangaidh ma chuairt na d' phluicean/ 
Rinn e sin. Thug am bodach a sin a nail piob agus shin e 
dha i agus dh' f haighneachd e dheth co dhiubh a bha port aige 
fhein no 'n ionnsuicheadh iad port dha. Thuirt esan gu'n 
robh port aige fhein agus chluich agus rinn e e anns a mhionaid 
uarach, 's cha robh e 'n taing port iarraidh orrasan. So am 
port a rinn an gille. 

Tha 'n crodh laoigh air aodan Chorrabheinn 
Uisge 's gaoth air aodan Chorrabheinn 
'S tha 'n crodh eil an Eilean-an-fheidh ^ 
Tha 'n crodh laoigh 's an fhraoch aig Mairi. 

(Tha siubhal eil ann nach eil idir agamsa ors' an seanchaidh.) 
Fhuair e phiob 'nuair a chluich e 'm port. Ghabh e sin 
a mach agus thug e 'm brod as an arddorus leis. Rainig e an 
nighean aig a chachaileith far na dh' f hag e i. Shin e dhith 
am brod snathaid, 's thug e 'n tigh air. Dh' f hosgail e cist 
athair 's thug e aiste 'phiob agus ckch nan cadal. Ghabh e 
mach as an tigh leithe dha 'n athaigh air culaibh an tigh. 
Chuir e suas a phiob anns an athaigh. Dhuisg na gillean 
's an athair. Bha e air ainm 's an ^m gu 'n robh piobaire Eirean- 
nach dol a thighinn 'g am fiachainn. Thuirt na gillean gu 'n 
robh 'm piobaire Eireannach air tighinn. Dh' fhaoighneachd 
iad dha 'n athair an robh e cluinntinn a chiuil. 

' Thk/ OS esan. ^ Faodaidh sinne a phiob a phasgadh/ os na 
gillean. Thuirt am bodach nach ruigeadh iad a leas f hathast. 
* Ma shiubhail e 'n domhan na 'n saoghal s e buille meoir mo 
mhic a tha sud.' * Cha 'n urrainn sin a bhith,' osa fear de na 
gillean. * Cha 'n e th' ann idir. Cha do rug am fea,r sin air 
piob no air feadan bho rugadh e'. ' Cha tuirt sin dad/ os 
athair; *se tha sud. Rach sibhse 'illean agus cuiridh mise 
geall ma sheallas sibh air ghioganachd gu 'm faic gur e mo 
mhac a tha sud.' Dh' eirich iad 's chuir iad umpa. Sheall 

^ Far am bheil tigh Dhomhuil Dhomhnullaich mac Aonghus mhic Alasdair, am 
Bornish. 'Se eilein a bha ann mu'n tugadh air falbh an t-uisge. 


iad a mach. Mhuthaich iad gu soilleir dha 'm brathair a seinn 
na pioba 's e spaidseireachd air urlar na h-athadh. Dh' innis 
iad dha 'n athair gur e 'm brathair og a bha cluich na pioba. 
(* Nach ann aig a bhodach a bha 'm beachd 'nuair a dh' aithnich 
e buille meoir a.mhic fhein nach do sheinn feadan riamh roimhe 
sin !') ' Cha'n e an t-Eireannach a th'ann idir/ os asan, ach 
an luidealach gille againn fhein, agus faodaidh sinn na pioba 
phasgadh ri'r beothlan. Tha 'n ealain aige-sa. Dh' fhag e 
piob athar far an d'fhuair e i. 

'S ann beagan as a dheaghaidh so thainig am piobaire 
Eireannach agus 's ann air a raona reidh far a bheil an Loch 
Briste an diugh a chaidh ad a! chluich. Nuair a choinnich iad 
air omhlar (urlar?) a Loch Bhriste, chruinnich moran sluaigh 
ann a bhuineadh do cheanna-deas na duthcha. Dh' aithnich 
gach boireannach agus fireannach a bh'ann gu'n gleidheadh am 
piobair Eireannach air a' Ghaidheal. 'Nuair a bha an sluagh 
cho tiugh, bha asan a stigh nam bronn mur gu'm biodh ad 
ann an cuidhe. 'Nuair a' chunnaic na boirionnaich gu'n robh 
an t-Eireannach dol a ghleidheadh, bhuail ad air phrionachan 
a stobadh ann am mala na pioba aige. Leis an t-saothair a 
fhuair esan a' cumail gaoithe anns a mhala nach cumadh gaoth, 
thuit e marbh mu dheireadh. Tha e air a radh gum beil am 
piobaire Eireannach air a thiodhlacadh mu r5gh a' chladaich 
ann am Smearcleit. 


Rev. Donald MacLean 

Since the death of Hector MacLean and J. F. Campbell of 
Islay, Mr. Alexander Carmichael, whom the University of 
Edinburgh has deservedly honoured with the degree of 
LL.D., has heen facile princeps in the domain of Highland 
folklore. He is a striking personality, with a strong indi- 
vidual flavour. In him are to be found the finest traits of 
the Celtic character. Buoyant with enthusiasm for all things 
Celtic, and with a remarkable tenacity of purpose, he has 


been enabled to amass a wealth of lore and general informa- 
tion on the Highlands, by which he has put his countrymen 
and all students of Celtic matters under a debt of lasting 
gratitude. His contributions to Celtic literature have been 
numerous, and extend over a long period of time. Apart 
from fugitive pieces of considerable merit to be found in 
various periodicals, the permanent record of his work 
deserves a close examination. Interested as he has always 
been in the social condition of the Highlands, he contributed 
an article on Land Tenure in the Highlands to Skene's Celtic 
Scotland, which Lord Napier said had been the means of 
enlisting his sympathy on behalf of the crofters. In many 
respects one of the most valuable contributions to the Report 
of the Crofter Royal Commission is his elaborate, searching, 
and sympathetic paper on the * Agrestic Customs of the Outer 
Isles.' Here he shows such familiarity with this subject as 
could only be acquired by long study, a keenly observant 
eye, and a quick faculty for careful discrimination. 

To that monumental work. Popular Tales of the West 
Highlands, by J. F. Campbell, he contributed many stories 
which he had gathered in his pilgrimages through the High- 
lands. By these also his claim to be considered a foremost 
folklorist was established. In vol. iv. of the Tales is a long 
and careful letter from his pen on the then famous ' Ossianic 
Controversy/ His attempt there is to point out the corre- 
spondence of the traditional tales, recited by generation after 
generation of the people with the Tales as reproduced by 
Macpherson. Copious references are given which seem to 
put the question of the antiquity of the Tales beyond doubt, 
but the question of extant MSS. is dealt with after the 
manner of a Macpherson apologist. The great value of the 
contribution lies in the amount of local and first-hand in- 
formation given on the vexed question of the Tales. 

In the Transactions of the Gaelic Society of Inverness, of 
which Society he is an Honorary Chieftain, are to be found 
several valuable contributions from him, notably the prose 
tale of ' Deirdire,' gathered from oral tradition. It is printed 


in volumes xiii. and xiv. — which are long out of print — and 
has since been translated into French and German. In 1905 
was published in book form 'Deirdire and The Lay of the 
Children of Uisne, orally collected in the Island of Barra, 
and literally translated by Alexander Carmichael.' Part of 
this truly beautiful love romance is found in MSS. liii. and 
Lvi. in the Advocates' Library, Edinburgh. Dr. Whitley 
Stokes reproduced part of it from MS. liii., and Professor 
Mackinnon has published the whole MS., with English 
translation, in The Celtic Review. The great value of 
Dr. Carmichael's version is that it is the only one collected 
from oral tradition. It belongs to the Cuchulain cycle of 
Gaelic Sagas, a cycle not very commonly met with in Scot- 
tish oral literature. The tale is quiet and subdued. It is 
free from the exaggeration peculiar to many of its class ; the 
dignity of all the principal characters and of Deirdire herself 
is, indeed, striking, and the tragic death of lovely Deirdire 
invests the story with such pathetic interest as appeals to 
the emotional side of human nature. The scene of the first 
part of the tale is near Lochness, probably Glenurquhart. 
By easy movements the scene is changed to Ulster. The 
principal characters are Calum Cruitire, Calum the Harper, 
and Deirdire his daughter, 'who was above comparison of 
the people of the world, shapely in her person, lovely in her 
beauty, while her skin and her gait were like those of the 
swan of the lake and the hind of the hill ' ; Naois, Aillean, and 
Ardan, sons of Uisne, *the three heroes of the greatest 
renown in the land ' ; Conchobar, the King of Ulster ; 
Fearachar Mac Eo, and Boinne Borb, and the dangerous 
Druid, Duanan Gacha Draogh. Deirdire was born to Calum 
the Harper, when it ceased to be with his wife after the 
manner of woman (which has its analogue elsewhere). The 
soothsayer who predicted her birth predicted such shedding 
of blood over her as there was never before in the land. 
Calum was troubled by the prediction, and when the child 
was born he sent her with a nurse- mother away to a far-off 
place, where no eye would see a sight of her, and no ear 


would hear a sound of her. Here she grew up to know only 
birds, plants, and trees, until she was discovered by a hunts- 
man, who brought the information of his discovery to King 
Conchobar of Ulster. King Conchobar came himself in 
person to Deirdire in the green knoll, instantly fell in love 
with her, and proposed marriage. Deirdire did not at first 
agree, but agreed to marry him at the end of a year and a 
day. In the interval the sons of Uisne passed by Deirdire 
in the green knoll. She fell in love with Naois, and they 
and his two brothers fled to Scotland. Conchobar heard of 
this, and through Fearchar invited the three brothers and 
Deirdire to a great feast in Ulster. They agreed to go. 
Deirdire was not willing to leave Albain, but she went with 
Naois. * Deirdire was heavy showering the tears, and she 
sang : — 

Beloved is the land, that yonder land, 

Albain full of woods and full of lakes, 

Sore to my heart to be leaving thee, 

But I go away with Naois. 

They reached Ulster, and were put up in Conchobar s Hostel. 
Conchobar gave orders to slay the brothers and bring Deirdire 
up to him. A slaughter ensued, but the brothers prevailed. 
Then the services of the evil Druid were invoked. He set a 
thick wood before the brothers escaping with Deirdire. But 
this did not check them. And the Druid then * froze the 
grey uneven sea into jagged hard lumps, the sharpness of 
swords on one side of them, and the venom of serpents on 
the other.' Arden died in the effort across this sea, then 
Aillean fell, and poor Naois ' heaved the sore sigh of death, 
and his heart rent.' The sea was drained by the Druid, and 
the three sons of Uisne were found lying dead together. 
Deirdire stood by the side of the grave as it was being 
opened, and when the bodies of the brothers were laid in it, 
Deirdire said : — 

Move thou hither, Naois of my love ; 
Close thou Ardan over to Aillean, 
If dead had understanding, 
Ye would make place for me. 


They did this. Deirdire leapt into the grave and lay close 
to Naois, and * she was dead by his side/ 

The tale is beautiful itself and in its language, and valu- 
able as a reflex of Celtic character. For the philologist the 
value of this work of Dr. Carmichael, as conveying the 
traditional tale exposed to the influences of time and oral 
recital, becomes apparent when it is compared with the 
written tale in Liii. of the Glenmasan MS. It shows us the 
tendency of words to become obsolete. It was customary 
for people when meeting one another to exchange three 
kisses. This was 'tiurapogaJ This is proved from MSS. 
In Dr. CarmichaeFs tale, Deirdire gives Naois ^na tri tiura 
pog.' This is tautology caused by the ignorance of the 
writer, who knows the custom but not the meaning of the 
word, and accordingly added the word tri. Similarly, when 
Conchobar bribes the sons of Fergus, he offers them, in 
Dr. Carmichaers version, drochaid shaor, which, as explained 
in the notes at the end of the volume, is corrupted from 
tricha cet, a cantred of land. Caogady fifty (the title of the 
first edition of the Gaelic Psalter), is the only word of the 
class now in use. The drochaid (bridge) shaor was the 
easiest substitute which the popular fancy could devise for 
the tricha cet, now become an obsolete term. The substitute 
phrase is, however, as valueless linguistically as the gift 
which it is meant to convey when compared with the original. 
Still, the reproduction of the later phrase in Dr. Carmichael's 
version proves his faithfulness to the tradition, and establishes 
the authenticity of the whole. The idiom of the tale is given 
as that of Barra, and the local words are reproduced by 
recourse to phonetic spelling. This is by no means an easy 
matter when the writer is familiar with various dialects. 
The writer of an orally delivered tale may even unconsciously 
mix his own dialect and idioms with that of the reciter. The 
absence of such admixture from the tale reflects the greatest 
credit on Dr. Carmichaers accuracy and care. The tale itself, 
with its commingling of ideas peculiar to different ages and 
races, is exceedingly beautiful and chaste in its conception 


and execution. The English translation is a faithful render- 
ing of the original, and whether the tale is read in Gaelic or 
English it is equally attractive. 

But Dr. Carmichaers magnum opus is the Carmina 
Gadelica (2 vols., quarto. 1900). 

This is indeed a unique contribution to the literature of 
the Highlands. It sheds such light on the religion and social 
customs of our remote ancestors as enables us, with some 
degree of accuracy, to depict for ourselves their mental 
proportions, their strong religious beliefs, and the joy and 
sorrow which entered into their lot. 

If the lichen-covered ruins that occupy such conspicuous 
spots in the Highlands are silent witness-bearers to the feuds 
and internecine wars of a past civilisation, these Hymns and 
Incantations, embedded in many instances in archaic expres- 
sions, crystallise the beliefs of votaries of successive cults that 
pursued each other through the long vista of prehistoric and 
historic times. 

The collection, which was made at the sacrifice of money 
and time, with painstaking assiduity and an enthusiasm that 
surmounted the difficult barriers of shyness, suspicion, and 
religious reserve, though large, is not exhaustive. Dr. 
Carmichael himself has in preparation two volumes uniform 
with these, besides much MS. material for future publication, 
and there are still floating among the people * invocations ' 
and * charms ' which, though they may be variants of those 
here reproduced, have distinguishing features of their own, 
emphasised by local circumstances. 

* Charms ' for a ' sprain,' * sore eye,' ' warts,' ' bleeding of 
the nose,' etc., differ considerably in the method of application. 
In some instances the charm is uttered and the power is 
invoked to effect the remedy with a touch of the hand or 
tongue or by mere breathings, as the only visible external 
applications. In other instances the method is more elaborate 
and scientific. The difficulties before the collectors are 
becoming greater, and a true appreciation of these will enable 
us to appraise Dr. CarmichaeVs work at an almost in- 
estimable value. 


The difficulties arise (1) from the present day dominating 
power of the strictly scientific or rationalistic method in the 
effort to explain the phenomena of life, and (2) from the 
antithesis of the former, that deeply religious people have, 
ignorantly, no doubt, looked upon the possession of a ' charm ' 
as suggestive of friendship with the spirit of darkness. 

Now no person likes to be called either a * fool ' by a 
scientist, or a 'friend of the devil' by a good neighbour. 
While the charms are survivals of occultism or more correctly 
perhaps the developed magical science of the Druids, and 
perhaps also remains of mediaeval Christianity, the identifica- 
tion of the possession of charms with the evil spirit rather 
than with the good spirit is assuredly an interesting survival 
of early Christianity's attitude to Druidism. 

Hence then the reticence to disclose the charm to a 
stranger or an indiscreet friend. Zeal and knowledge have 
thus obliterated what true love for knowledge should have 
fostered and perpetuated. In looking at the collections of 
' Hymns ' and ' Incantations,' one is struck with the fact that 
the great bulk of these are deeply religious in sentiment and 
expression. This shows that religion was a powerful, yea, 
even the supreme element in the thoughts and actions of the 
people. The Great Personal Being, under whatever name He 
appears, is the moral Governor of the world. He is the 
sustaining power in His own creation. He controls all 
forces, shapes human destinies, and is deeply interested in 
the interests of humanity. All things, even the minutest 
details of life, are referred to Him, believing, evidently, that 
nothing is too insignificant for His protecting care. His 
protection is prayed for on going on a journey. His blessing 
is invoked on the boat launching into the deep, as well as on 
all the ordinary household undertakings. 

On the lonely moor the maiden pleads for the protection 
and blessing of God in her milking croon. These people 
lived conscious of the Presence and All-Mighty Power of the 
Eternal God, and these verbal expressions of their mystic 
Faith helped to vitalise their religious life. Shorn of these 
symbols their life would have been uninteresting, dreary, and 


cold. A later civilisation with its materialistic tendencies 
has been unkind to these people. It has robbed them of 
the simplicity and artlessness of their religion by eliminating 
from their unwritten liturgies all that would not coincide with 
results of a cold, scientific criticism. 

The * collections ' are a veritable mine. But they must 
be dug and the effort will surely repay students of all 
branches of study identified with Celticism. 

The philologist will find here words that have stood 
unaffected by the corroding influences of time and the 
influence of contact with a foreign tongue. Traces there 
are also of incipient decay. There are instances of the 
transposition of certain letters, of eclipse and of the influence 
of the nasal sound, which seem to prove the correctness of 
the rigid rules of grammarians on these points. Borrowed 
words are here too, as might be expected in a collection of 
sacred utterances which are the codified beliefs of the Church 
which has been so dependent on Greek and Latin for its 
phraseology. Words which show the language in its pristine 
glory cheer the heart of the philologist in his search for roots 
and m his studies of cognate languages. The strange and 
sometimes inexplicable combination of words in the present- 
day speech may thus become easily soluble. 

For a student of comparative religion there is here at 
his disposal materials of a valuable kind. Some of the 
terminology belongs to the pre-Christian age. * Dia nan dul,' 
still with us in the Gaelic Psalter, is a reminder of the times 
when the terrible elements had not been impersonated. 
The * Flaith ' or ' princes ' still current are themselves the 
humanised gods of the Celtic Pantheon. The potency of 
the charms is traceable to the beliefs of the times when the 
lordly Druids seemed to have had the elements in the hollow 
of their hands, and with their magic power could control 
invisible Demons. Christianity and Heathenism can be 
compared and contrasted. The quiet and solemn reverence 
of the former is the counterpart of the deadly fear of the 
latter. The barbarous rites of heathenism place the liberty, 


joy, and peaceful assurance of the other in bold relief. The 
servility and defencelessness of society under Druidism and 
the less systematic beliefs of heathenism emphasise the 
tremendous change brought about by Christianity. The 
assimilation by Christianity of many of the harmless practices 
of the preceding cults is . clearly noticeable. Through the 
many changes that the religious beliefs and practices of the 
people have passed, certain heathen customs have remained 
a permanent element in the life of the community. These 
practices, such as the cure by charms, and the equally 
prevalent use of ' black cocks ' and * cats,' though they can 
easily be traced to the sacrificial element in the pre- 
Christian cults, are made use of by Christians, fully convinced 
that this method of cure is in no way inconsistent with 
their faith. 

But the volumes before us put in the hands of the 
Church historian also materials which he cannot consciously 

Like geological strata, the layers of ecclesiasticism are 
quite as marked here. The saints of the early Columban 
Church, which float as mere phantoms in distant ages, are 
here invested with such mediatorial powers as indicate the 
efforts of ecclesiastics to magnify the importance of these 
saints. Later saints are also introduced, and they point to a 
step in development of the Church's doctrine under the 
influence of medisevalism. The gradual disappearance of 
what might be called the superstitious elements in these 
concrete examples of the people s faith shows the influence 
of later theological thought and the extent of its sphere 
of action. 

Altogether these volumes have no compeer in their 
domain. They are sure to remain a classic of Celtic 
literature. The present edition being practically out of 
print, the price has become prohibitive, and a cheaper edition 
is earnestly looked for. 

To Dr. Carmichael all students of Celtic are under a 
deep debt of gratitude. He rescued from oblivion much of 
VOL. v. 2 a 


the oral tradition of our people, which were it not for his 
incessant labours, would have passed away on the stream of 
time. The translations are on the whole accurate and literal. 
There are cryptic utterances in the originals which would 
not yield readily to translation, but Dr. Carmichael has a 
wonderfully sympathetic insight as well as much persever- 
ance. Archaic expressions are also found which have no 
modern equivalents. The tracings of capital letters, a fine 
work of art, and faithful to the types, as readers of Celtic 
MSS. can verify, are due to his wife, to whose sympathy, 
encouragement, and help Dr. Carmichael's achievements owe 
very much. 

It was fitting that Dr. Carmichael's work should be 
honoured not only by the University but by Celts of all 
ranks and interests, who took advantage of the occasion to 
present him with the robes, hood, and cap of a Doctor of 
Laws of Edinburgh University. 


Alexander Carmichael 

The island of Lismore is situated in the district of Lome 
and the sheriffdom of Argyle. It lies in the Linn of Lome 
opposite Oban, trending along towards Appin. Including the 
islet of Musdal, which is separated from the main island by a 
shallow strait — a few feet deep, and a few yards wide at low 
water — Lismore is ten and one-tenth miles in length and 
averages about one mile in breadth. 

The geological formation of Lismore is limestone with the 
exception of two beds of whin and several dykes of trap. 

The whin is at Cilleandrais and Portcharrain, two con- 
tiguous farms, and the traps cross the island at nearly equal 
intervals along its length. These traps merge under the sea 
at Lismore and again emerge on the two opposite coasts. 

Probably, however, the most interesting and instructive 
geological feature of Lismore is the ancient sea-margin by 


which it is surrounded. This margin is of irregular width, 
from one to a hundred yards, and in one place is one thousand 
yards wide. It is of uniform level throughout though rough 
and rocky on the surface. A sea escarpment rises fifty feet 
above this terrace and is considerably honeycombed — in some 
places deeply indented — by the action of the sea. Some 
of the deeper indentations penetrate the rock to unknown 
distances forming deep caves, one of which is alleged to pierce 
the island right through. This, however, can only be conjecture. 
A story is told of a piper and his dog having entered this 
cave — Uamh-Chraidh — at Bailegrunail, intending to come out 
at Uamh-an-duine, which is at Creaganaich. It is alleged 
that the piper was heard playing right across the island, the 
music ascending through earth-holes — talamh-tuill — on the 
way, the burden of his lament being : — 

Mis air airin baidh 'us burrail 
Measg nan glumag eagalaich 
Uamh Chraidh am Baile-ghrunail 
Uamh-an-Duin' an Creaganaich. 

I drowning and howling 
Amongst the horrid pools 
The Pain Cave in Bailegrunail 
The Man Cave in Creaganaich. 

The dog came out at Uamh-an-Duine hairless and sightless, 
but the playing ceased and the piper never emerged. The 
conclusion is that the cave contained impassable pools, in one 
of which the piper was drowned. 

Similar stories are told of many other places from Ireland 
to India and from Britain to Japan, and probably with as much 
foundation in fact. 

The present sea-escarpment rises six feet or so above sea- 
level. Its face is fairly vertical and singularly honeycombed. 
Some of the old sea margin contains half- fossilised masses of 
shells caked together like the conglomerate rock of the coast 
of Lome — some of the shells simply cemented together by the 
edges in the most delicate and fantastic manner like Indian 


filigree. In some places the face of the escarpment is still 
studded with limpets, whelks, both black and white, and 
mussels like the rocks of the shore below, against which the 
sea now beats. And irresponsively cold the heart and irre- 
deemably cold the imagination that would not be moved at 
the sight of the lowly crustaceans thus still clinging in death 
after unknown ages to their sapless mother rock, like a dead 
child clinging to its dead mother's breast. 

The name Lismore is variously interpreted lios, a fort, and 
mor, great — great fort ; lios, a garden — the great garden ; and 
slios, a plain — the great plain. 

The name may mean * the great fort ' from the number of 
forts in the place, the remains of which are still more or less 
visible. It may mean * the great garden ' from the fertility of 
the soil, the island having been the garden and granary of 
the great Lords of the Isles when these semi-royal nobles held 
sway over the whole Highlands and Islands of Scotland and 
possessed a house and the half of Alban — * tigh is leth Albain/ 
Or, it may mean * the great plain ' from its low-lying position 
in the midst of the sea surrounded by mountains. 

Sliosmore is not a form of the name now known to the 
people of the place, though curiously enough it is the form 
used by the people of the Outer Isles when speaking of this 
island. And this form receives countenance from the disputa- 
tion alleged to have occurred between Saint Columba and 
Saint Moluag. 

It is said that Columba and Moluag were brothers. Each 
wished to possess Lismore and to make it the centre of his 
missionary labours, for there was much emulation among the 
saints of old — striving who should win most souls to Christ. 

The brothers arranged to run a race and that the first to 
land should possess the island. They left together, each saint 
with his crew of clerics singing the Psalms of David while they 
rowed their coracles as the Highland boatmen still sing their 
iorraim — boat-songs. 

When approaching the island, the brethren still straining at 
their oars and the saints chanting their psalms, Moluag lifted 


his axe and cut off the little finger of his left hand, and throw- 
ing it ashore exclaimed : * My witness be to God and man, 
my flesh and blood are on the land, Columba beloved' — 
* M' fhianuis air Dia agus daoine m' fhuil is m' fheoil air tir, 
a Chaluim chaoimh.' Upon seeing the devotion of his brother 
Columba turned aside the bow of his boat and did not land. 
It is alleged that he tried to depreciate the island as represented 
in the following dialogue : — 

CoLUM-ciLLE. Sliosmor mar ainm an eilean. 
MoLUAG. Ma's a slios mor gu m'a slios tarbhach. 
COLUM-ciLLE. Slocach, cnocach, creagach. 
MoLUAG. Brioghar, mioghar, preasach. 
CoLUM-ciLLE. Faobhar a chloich bhos a chionn. 
MoLUAG. A goimhe foipe. 
COLUM-CILLE. Fearna mar chonadh da. 
MoLUAG. Gabhail mar a choingeal da. 

Columba. The great plain be the name of the island. 
MoLUAG. If great the plain, great be the fruit. 
Columba. Hollow-full, knoll-full, rock-full. 
MoLUAG. Fruit-full, sweet-full, shrub-full. 
Columba. Be the edges of its rocks above. 
MoLUAG. Be their venom under. 
Columba. Green alder be its fuel. 
MOLUAG. May it burn like the candle. 

Embracing and blessing his brother and bidding him pro- 
sperity through time and eternity Columba proceeded north- 
wards, preaching the gospel and building churches, till he 
reached the palace of Brude, King of the Picts, near Inverness. 
When Brude heard that Columba was approaching, he was 
sore afraid, and barred his iron gates against him, and appealed 
to his gods for protection. But Columba prayed to his God 
against the gods of Brude, and immediately the iron bars fell 
down, and the iron gates of Brude opened wide, and Columba 
walked in, and so the King was converted to the Christian 

During the Norse occupation the western isles of Scotland, 
together with the Orkney and Shetland Isles on the north 



and the Isle of Man on the south, were ruled ecclesiastically 
from Norway. 

This long disarticulated chain of islands was divided into 
two great groups, the line of demarcation being drawn across 
the small island of Carnaburg behind the island of Mull. 
The group of islands to the north of this line was called the 
Nordreys — the Northern Isles — and the group to the south 
the Sudreys — the Southern Isles. 

An English diocese still retains the name of the southern 
group, * Sodor and Man ' — the Southern Isles and Man. The 
title is singularly inapplicable now, as all the Southern Isles 
are in Scotland, and the Isle of Man was only annexed to 
the British Crown in the year 1825. Upon the downfall 
of the Norsemen, Argyll and the Western Isles were joined 
into a bishopric entitled the ' See of Argyll and the Isles.' 
In the year 1200, John, Bishop of Dunkeld, sent his chaplain 
Harold to Innocent iii., asking that Argyll and the Isles 
might be disjoined from Dunkeld, and erected into a separate 
see with Harold as bishop thereof. The Pope admired the 
conscientiousness of the bishop, quoting the proverb, ' Eara 
avis in terra.' 

The Pope appointed and consecrated Harold bishop of 
the new diocese accordingly. From its insularity, security, 
sanctity, and perhaps fertility, the island of Lismore was 
selected as the seat of the new bishop. A cathedral was 
built, the choir of which is now the parish church. The 
palace was built at Achanduin. The ruins of the palace 
situated on a high knoll are picturesque features in the pic- 
turesque landscape. Closely adjoining is the island of 
Bearnarey, where Columba was wont to preach under a large 
yew tree. The tree stood on the edge of the island, half of it 
over the land and half over the sea, and was capable of 
sheltering a thousand people beneath its widely spreading 

The people of Mull and Morven came in their skin 
coracles, wherein they sat out the service, while the people of 
Lismore came on foot and sat on the ground, the island 



"being accessible by foot at half-tide. From the circumstance 
of Colum-cille preaching there, the island of Bearnarey 
was looked upon as holy ground, and the tree under which he 
preached as sacred. An old poem speaks of : — 

Dun stuadh Sta' inis 
Air taobh tuath Latharna 
Us Bearnara an iuthair uasail 
Air taobh tuath Liosmoire. 

The turret dun of Staffnage 
Upon the north side of Lome 
And Bearnarey of the noble yew 
Upon the north side of Lismore. 

The remains of a small oratory and an oblation cairn are 
close by where the yew tree stood. 

Colum-cille prophesied that the pride and greed of man 
would yet place beneath his feet the noble tree under which 
he and they found shade and shelter while discoursing 
on the lowly humanity of Christ, and that the guiltiness of 
the act would only be expiated by water and blood and three 

About the middle of the nineteenth century the pro- 
prietor of the island removed the tree to make a staircase 
in his house at Ardmhucnis, Benderloch. When felling the 
tree it came down upon a man crushing him to death and 
dyeing the rocks red with his blood. 

When the boats left, towing the tree behind them, the 
day was calm and bright and the sea as smooth as a mirror, 
but when they approached Rudh-na-Fionnart near their desti- 
nation, a sudden storm burst upon them, crushing the boat 
against the tree, whereby more lives were lost. 

The house in which the tree was used took fire, and 
everything was destroyed except the staircase. The house 
was rebuilt and the magnificent stair again used, and again 
the house was destroyed by fire — all save the staircase. 

Some say that this Castle of Lochnell, so singularly 
sheltered and beautifully situated, has been burnt and re- 
built three times, others say twice. 


A bishop is invested with a pastoral staff emblematic of 
his office as shepherd of the flock. In Latin this staff is 
called baculum, in Gaelic * bachull/ 

On the erection of the see of Argyll and the Isles a 
man was appointed to the office of custodian of the 
baculum of the bishop. The office was honourable and 
important, and a man of standing in the district was 
selected for the appointment. The appointment was con- 
ferred upon Livingstone, some say of Lismore, others of 
Benderloch, adjoining. The Gaelic form of Livingstone 
is Mac-an-leigh, son of the physician. Probably it origi- 
nated from the Beatons, who for many centuries were 
celebrated all over Scotland, and are still spoken of in High- 
land tradition. The Beatons are said to be descended from 
Betan who came over with Calum-cille, and to have been 
physicians of the Columban Church in Scotland during 
many ages. There were three celebrated families of them — 
one in Mull, one in Islay, and one in Skye. The parent 
house was in Mull, and their tombstones, which are at 
lona and Killfinichen, are among the finest sculptured stones 
in Scotland. The Beatons were family physicians to the 
Stuart kings, as may be seen from the payments made to 
them in the Exchequer Rolls. The name assumes various 
forms, as Bethune, Beaton, and Paton. 

As indicating the tenacity of heredity, I may mention 
that I knew a descendant of one of these Beatons in the 
island of South Uist. He came from Skye when a young 
man, as a shepherd. He died in great poverty, an old man of 
eighty-eight, in South Uist some fifteen years ago, in the most 
miserable hut I ever saw. The man was wholly unlettered, 
but he knew the Gaelic name of every plant, its medicinal pro- 
perties, its flowering season, and all its various characteristics. 

In those early times payments were made in kind. Those 
to the custodian of the staff of the Bishop of Lismore were 
made in lands. A small estate was given him near the 
cathedral and he was created a baron. 

The cathedral church of Lismore is dedicated to Saint 


Moluag. The pastoral staff of the bishop was called the staff 
of Moluag — Bachull Moluag and various other names, and 
many people believe that it belonged to Moluag, and that the 
baron of Bachuill was keeper of it ages before the disjoining 
of Lismore from Dunkeld. 

Besides being the keeper of the crozier, the Baron was 
almoner of the cathedral, dispensing the bounty of the 
bishop to the poor of the parish. In this capacity he was 
called * An Deor ' — the almoner. The site of the old dwell- 
ing of the barons is still called 'Tarach Taigh an Deor,' — 
the site of the house of the almoner, and the ground upon 
which it stood *Bruthach Taigh an Deor,' — the slope of the 
house of the almoner. 

The * Baron of Bachuill,' as Livingstone is still called, was 
also chancellor of the cathedral, and as such had to visit the 
landowners throughout the diocese to receive the tithes and 
all other dues accruing to the church. On these occasions 
the Baron carried the crozier of the bishop, at sight of 
which all men were bound to pay him homage. 

The Bachull of Moluag was treated with veneration akin 
to awe by the people. Like the staff of St. Fillan of Glen- 
dochart, and the staff of St. Patrick of Armagh, the famous 
Bachull Isu, the staff of Moluag possessed, in the simple 
faith of the times, miraculous powers. It ensured safety 
at sea, truth on land, secured man from plague, woman from 
death, and cattle from murrain. And like the bell of St. 
Fillan, if carried away or left behind, it came home again of 
its own accord. Upon one occasion the keeper of the staff 
inadvertently left it behind him on the mainland, and only 
remembered his mistake when he landed in the island of 
Lismore. The Baron was considering how to recross the 
strait in the dark stormy night to recover his staff. Just 
then he heard something whizzing in the air behind him and 
passing his ear and falling before him in the rolag-mhara, 
rolled seaweed. The Baron bent down to see what it was, 
and to his great joy and relief it was his Bachull Moluag ! 
Many similar stories are still current of this interesting relic 


— stories that show the veneration of the people and of the 

Locally the crozier is called Caman na Bachuill, the crook 
of Bachull; Bachull Moluag, the Bachull of Moluag; Am 
Bachull Buidhe, the yellow bachull; Am Bachull Mor, the 
big Bachull ; Am Bata Buidhe, the yellow staff. These 
last two names are in allusion to the metal with which the 
staff was covered. 

Baron Livingstone, as the present custodian is called, 
possesses a small freehold estate in virtue of being the keeper 
of the staff of Moluag. The estate is called Bachuill, from 
the crozier being kept there. The crozier itself is frequently 
called after the estate, even to calling it Bachull na Bachuill, 
the Bachull of Bachull. The custodian of the crozier is 
called Baran a Bhachuill, the Baron of the Bachull ; Baran 
na Bachuill, the Baron of Bachull. 

The Livingstones of Lismore were unfortunate in their 
neighbour, Campbell of Airds. Sir Donald Campbell of 
Airds was a natural son of Campbell of Calder, now Cawdor. 
He is known in tradition as ^ DomhnuU Dubh nan Ard,' 
Black Donald of Airds. 

Sir Donald was an ecclesiastic at a time when many 
ecclesiastics were sorely perplexed which end of the see-saw 
to follow. While Rome was paramount Sir Donald was a 
Roman of the Romans ; when Episcopacy was in the ascend- 
ant he swore by the Thirty-Nine Articles ; and when Presby- 
terianism was triumphant Sir Donald Campbell became 
reconciled to Presbytery. 

The man was greedy of power and pelf, gaining ends 
regardless of means, a robber, steeped to the neck in fraud 
and guile, and pursued his evil courses with an address and 
adroitness that Jacob might have envied. He was bishop- 
elect of Lismore, but had not been appointed, the Pope 
probably being uncertain of him. 

'Is math an la an ni am madadh-ruadh searman,* A 
good day it is when the fox preaches a sermon. Sir Donald 
Campbell announced that he was to preach in Lismore and 


that he expected the people to attend. He preached accord- 
ingly. On the following day it was reported that the black 
sheep of Alasrath belonging to Sir Donald was stolen. The 
people were alarmed, sheep-stealing being a capital crime and 
Sir Donald implacable. The houses were searched, and that 
there might be no remissness of duty Campbell himself 
accompanied the search party. The house of the Baron was 
searched like the rest, and there on the rafters was found 
the skin — lug-marks and all — of the black sheep of Alasrath. 
The people were astonished, and, apparently, none more than 
Sir Donald Campbell. Sir Donald gave the Baron the alter- 
native of losing his head or losing his lands. 

* Well,' said the honest Baron, 'I am not a thief; there 
has never been a thief of my family as far back as I can 
trace. But some evil-minded man has done this evil thing 
to me to bring myself to disgrace and my children to ruin. 
I am not afraid to die — the guiltless die but once, the guilty 
many times ; but rather than that posterity should cast up 
to my children that their father was hanged for stealing a 
sheep, I leave my land with you, Sir Donald, and my integrity 
with my children as their only legacy.' 

Campbell thereupon took possession of all the lands of 
Livingstone south of Fuaran Frangaig, including Bailegarbh, 
Cnoc na Croiche to the Lake of Cileandrais, Garadh nan 
Cleireach, Peighinn Chailean, and on to Crois Dughaill. 
Bachuill he left with the Baron. 

When Sir Donald lay dying — and his death was terrible — 
he sent a fleet-footed messenger to bring the Baron to him. 
But his wife sent a swifter messenger to bring back the other. 
And all night long Sir Donald kept calling out, * The Baron ! ' 
' The Baron ! ' ^ O the Baron ! ' * What is keeping the Baron ! ' 

* Why is not the Baron coming ? ' And his wife kept saying, 

* Yes, love, yes. Thou didst ever love the Baron ! thou didst 
great favours for him ; the grateful Baron will soon be here.' 
And all night long the black raven kept croaking in the elm- 
tree above Black Sir Donald, as did the raven in the tree 
above the bed of Duncan. Before morning dawned, on a 


night of terrific wind and thunder and lightning, Black Sir 
Donald Campbell of Airds was dead. 

When the man bribed to do Sir Donald's work at Alasrath 
heard that his master was dead he was sore dismayed and 
like a man bereft, running to and fro, rolling his tongue like 
a bear, and bleating like a sheep. Ultimately the unhappy 
man rushed up the lofty Clach-thoU, from the precipitous 
head of which he had the grace Judas-like to cast himself, 
and was dashed to pieces on the rocks below. 

Baron Carmichael ^ of Sgurain, and others whom this man 
of fraud and guile had robbed of their lands, resented the 
robberies and chafed under their wrongs, but Baron Living- 
stone behaved with such Christian meekness and resignation 
under his grievous wrong that seemingly even the hard heart 
of his wily injurer was touched. 

This was not the only occasion on which the Livingstones 
of Bachuill suffered at the hands of the Campbells of Airds. 
Towards the close of the 1 8th century a road was formed along 
the length of Lismore. This road cut a piece off the little 
estate of Bachuill. Sir John Campbell of Airds proposed to 
Baron John Livingstone of Bachuill to excamb this piece of land 
for a piece that lay between Bachuill and the glebe. To this 
the Baron consented, and the exchange was made. ' But,' 
said Sir John Campbell, * as the land that I am giving is of 
more value to you than the land that you are giving me, you 
must pay me a small sum in addition.' ' Whatever you say is 
right is right, Sir John,' said the Baron. ' Well, we will call 

^ Baron Carmichael, Lismore, was a man of some standing in his day. He was 
usually called ' Am Baran Ban '—the Fair Baron ; and ' Baran Tigh Sgurain ' — the 
Baron of Sgurain House — from the precipitous projection on which the house stood. 
One of the family was Bishop of Lismore, and was usually called An t-Easpuig Ban. 
He was one of the bishops during whose episcopacy the Cathedral of Lismore was 
built. Some three centuries subsequently descendants of the Fair Baron were still 
fair— Dr. Dugald Carmichael was called ' Dughall Ban ' — Fair Dugald ; and ' An 
Dotar Ban ' — the Fair Doctor. He is known to science as the ' Father of Marine 
Botany,' and was the intimate friend and correspondent of Sir William Hooker, who. 
called many marine plants after him. His nephew, the accomplished Celtic scholar, 
the late Rev. Dr. Clark, Killmallie, went under the name of ' Gilleaspa Ban— Archi- 
bald the Fair. 


it the small sum of fifty shillings, then,' said the wily Sir John. 

* Whatever you say is right is right. Sir John,' said the Baron 
unsuspectingly. The thin end of the wedge being thus got 
in, in the following year an additional sum of fifty shillings 
was exacted and paid, and so on from year to year, till the 
sum amounted to £17, 10s. a year ! 

While discussing these proceedings a few years ago with 
the late Baron of Bachuill, the writer remarked that the 
honesty of the Livingstones had been no protection against 
the guile of the Campbells of Airds. 'No,' said the good, 
kindly Baron, with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his 
lips, quoting an old proverb, ' There is no watertightness in 
the divots of the Campbells.' (Cha n'eil dion ann an sgrath 
nan Caimbeulach.) ' What comes with the rain goes with the 
wind,' says the old proverb. The Campbells of Airds lost 
their lands long ago, and their representatives are scattered 
far and wide. Even their burying-place in the midst of the 
lovely woods of Airds, and which they took such pains to 
enclose and secure, is no longer left sacred to them, and 
strangers bury therein. Sadly curtailed and small, Bachuill 
is still the property of the ancient Livingstones, together with 
the love and esteem of all who know them. 

It is not quite clear whether a fostership or a marriage 
connection or both existed between the Stewarts of Appin 
and the Livingstones of Lismore, but the friendship between 
them was strong and enduring. A Gaelic proverb says : 

* Cairdeas gu caogad co-altas gu ceud ' — relationship to fifty, 
fostership to a hundred. The following incident throws a 
lurid light upon life in the Highlands — and indeed in the 
Lowlands also — in the first decade of the sixteenth century. 
There had been wolfish feuds about lands between the Stewarts 
of Appin and the Macleans of Duart. 

The Earl of Argyll — whose daughter Elizabeth — the sub- 
ject of Campbell's poem of 'Glenara' — was married to 
Maclean — brought about a reconciliation, and Stewart went 
to Duart to ratify the peace. There were games and feats 
of strength and arms, in all of which SoUamh Mac Colla, 


Solomon Maccoll, the gille cas fliuch of Stewart, was vic- 
torious. The Macleans were ' neither to hand nor to bind/ 
and they fell upon the luckless gille cas fliuch, and beat him 
to death. 

Then they jeered at the body, saying, ' nach ann ann a tha 
an smior chnamh ; nach ann ann a tha an ola dhonn ! ' * Is it 
not in him that the bone marrow is ? is it not in him that the 
neatsfoot oil is ? ' and other taunting terms, as if they had a 
newly killed cow before them. 

Stewart was grieved at the death of his trusted man, and 
riled at the taunts of his slayers, and he replied with more 
warmth than wisdom, ' Cha b'e brisgeanan ban an raoin agus 
faochagan dubh a chladaich idir teachd-an-tir mo ghille-sa.' 
* The pale silverweed of the field, and the black whelk of the 
strand were not at all the sustenance of my man.' The in- 
sinuation — perhaps all the more from the latent truth it con- 
tained — roused the Macleans to red heat, and twenty Duart 
swords came down on the hapless head of Appin. 

Not content with slaying Stewart, the Macleans suspended 
his corpse against the wall of their castle, and threatened 
death to any who would dare to take it down. 

The men of Appin fled for their lives, landing on the 
nearest point of Lismore, nor did they rest till they placed 
that island and the sea on either side of it between them- 
selves and Mull. 

Livingstone of Bachuill was grieved when he heard of the 
death of his good friend Stewart of Appin. He said nothing, 
however, but when night came he and his two red-haired 
daughters went away in their skiff, nor were they long in 
reaching Duart. Livingstone and his daughters miraculously 
managed to bring the body of the Lord of Appin to their 
skiff, and to put to sea before they were discovered, but they 
had hardly left the shore when the Macleans came rushing 
down with wild tumult and wilder imprecations. 

They immediately launched their boats and leapt into 
them, but as hurriedly leapt out of them again, amidst yells 
of execration, for boat after boat filled with water and sank 


beneath their feet. The wise Baron had been before them 
and driven auger-holes through their boats. Ultimately 
they managed with much difficulty to launch a sixteen-oared 
war galley less damaged than the rest, that had brought home 
to Duart many a * creach ' from distant island and near main- 

After a terrible struggle, amidst the swirling currents of 
' Boinne nam Biodag,' the Macleans came up to the Living- 
stones in running through the narrow shallow strait that 
separates the small islet of Musdal from the main island of 

Just as a crowd of Macleans— a tithe of whom would 
have sent it to the bottom — was about to jump down into 
the little skiff of the Livingstones, a swift, swirling current 
threw the large galley on a sunken rock, on which it was left 
hard and fast by the rapidly receding tide, while the same 
rapid river-like current rushed the little skiff of the Living- 
stones far beyond reach. 

They rowed their hardest, and soon reached a creek, 
where they landed, and hurriedly buried the body in the 
shingle of the beach. The people of Lismore and Appin 
gathered, and carrying the body of Stewart to Clachan, 
buried it in the cathedral church of Saint Moluag. 

And there in the * dim religious light ' of the old fane the 
tombstone of the Lord of Appin is still to be seen, and the 
story of the good Baron of Bachuill and his two brave 
daughters is still told. 

The creek where the Livingstones landed and buried the 
body is called * Port Chailleach,' the port of the women. 

Even yet the mention of the two red-haired daughters of 
the Baron of Bachuill brings a flush to the face of a 
Maclean ! 

The burying -ground of Lismore is named after Saint 
Moluag. It is situated on the summit of a prominent knoll. 
From this knoll there is a most extensive and varied view, 
rarely equalled, nowhere excelled, of sea and lake, of wood 
and glen and mountains. To the back are the mountains of 


Mull and Morven, to the left the long vista of the Corran — 
the sea running in among the mountains of Lochaber, in the 
midst of which stands Ben Nevis towering above his neigh- 
bours. In front is Cruachan and the Linn, and Land of 
Lome, and to the right the Small Isles with the mountains 
of Jura in the dim blue distance beyond. 

Highlanders are taunted with clinging like limpets to 
their native rocks. At all events Highlanders cling heart 
and soul to the memory of the woods and lochs and glens and 
mountains among which they were reared, and which they 
never forget wherever they go. 

On the summit of the burying-ground is a cross called 
* Crois Dubh— the black cross,' and known on the mainland 
as the * Black Cross of Lismore,' — Crois Dubh Liosmoire. 
Till recently all public announcements were made at this 
cross, and a proclamation was not considered valid unless 
made here. The cross adjoins the site of the first Christian 
church in the island, and probably like other crosses through- 
out the Highlands and Islands was used as a preaching- station 
before there was a church. The first church of Saint Moluag 
in Lismore is believed to have been constructed of wattles, like 
most, if not all, of the Columban churches, and even dwellings, 
of the time. It stood on the top of the burying-ground. The 
cathedral church, now the parish church, is at the foot of the 
knoll. It was completed in 1300, sixty-four years after the 
place was made into a see. This church, like many others, 
was burnt by the Norsemen, who massacred the people, for 
these Viking invaders revelled in blood and fire. During last 
century, while a grave was being dug on the site of this ancient 
church, a three-branched candlestick was found. The candle- 
stick was gold, small and finely formed, though plain. Bits of 
burnt wood, stone, and other debris of the early church came 
to light at the same time. Possibly this interesting relic of 
early Christian art formed part of the altar furnishing of the 
simple wattle church of Saint Moluag.^ This candlestick was 

1 Saint Moluag is said to have died at Ardclach, while on one of his many 
missionary journeys. When the people of Lismore heard of his death twenty-four of the 


secured by General Sir Duncan Campbell of Lochnell, but 
what became of it on the dispersion of his fine collection is 
not known. The writer made minute personal inquiries for 
it at the British Museum and elsewhere, but unsuccessfully. 
In the centre of the burying-ground, and adjoining the 
foundation of this early church, is the lair of the Barons 
of Bachuill. This would indicate the connection of the family 
with the situation of the lair and church, and was very 
early, probably preceding by many centuries their appoint- 
ment to the custody of the pastoral staff of the bishop in 
the thirteenth century. Probably the Livingstones were the 
keepers of the actual staff of Saint Moluag, and were simply 
confirmed in the office when the see of Argyll and the Isles 
was created. If this be so, the crozier of Saint Moluag is one 
of the very oldest relics of Christian art in Scotland, and 
second to none in interest. The crozier is 2 feet 10 inches 
long. It is of wood, and was sheathed with metal, probably 
gold, and is dotted all over with the marks of the pins fasten- 
ing the metal to the wood. 

The earliest charter now extant of the Barons of Bachuill 
is dated 1544. This, however, is only a renewal, and refers to 
a previous charter. In it the Baron of the time is spoken of 
patronymically as John, the son of Molmoire, the son of Iver. 
Molmoire is Maol- Moire, — * the tonsured of Mary.' 

The Barons of Bachuill are of interest to all who are 
interested — and who is not ? — in Dr. David Livingstone. The 
great missionary explorer was descended from these Living- 
stone Barons of Bachuill in Lismore. Neil Livingstone, the 
young son of the old Baron, joined the army of Prince Charlie, 
and was in the rising of 1745. He escaped, but not scatheless, 
the disasters of Culloden and made his way home to Bachuill. 
But Lismore was not a safe asylum, being the country of the 

strongest men in the island travelled to Ardclach and brought his body home on 
their shoulders and buried him within his own rustic little church amidst the moaning 
of men and the wailing of women, for Moluag was much beloved. This is the tradi- 
tion, still current in Lismore. Other accounts state that he died at Kosmarkie, and 
that he is buried there. 

VOL. v. 2 B 


Campbells, and the parish of the Rev. John MacAulay. This 
John MacAulay, who had been minister of South Uist, was 
the grandfather of Lord Macaulay, and like his father in 
Harris, the Rev. Aulay MacAulay, he made himself obnoxious 
by trying to secure the Prince. 

Neil Livingstone crossed from Lismore to Morven, and 
after a time from Morven to Mull, and finally from Mull to 
Ulva, adjoining. 

Donald Livingstone, the son of Neil Livingstone, was in 
the local Fencibles of his day. During the annual drills at 
Oban and Stirling he made the acquaintance of his namesake 
and distant kinswoman, Catherine Livingstone, whose father 
was a farmer at Bailemore in Kerrara, opposite Oban. 
When his regiment was finally disbanded Donald Livingstone 
married Catherine Livingstone and brought her home with 
him to Ulva. Things, however, did not prosper in Ulva 
with the young people, and after a time they removed to 
Blantyre on the Clyde. Donald Livingstone had a son, 
Neil, the father of David Livingstone, whose name will 
live while courage, honesty, and humanity are admired among 

The tomb of the Livingstones of Lismore adjoins the 
site of the original church of Saint Moluag. The place is 
called Plod nam Baran, Plod na Bachuill, Plod Chlann-an- 
leigh, the lair of the Barons, the lair of Bachuill, the lair of 
the Livingstones. 

The Barons are buried by themselves, no member of their 
family being buried with them. There is only one known 
instance of a member of his family being buried with a 
Baron — a wife who, when dying, appealed to be buried in 
death beside him whom she loved in life. The husband and 
wife were so devotedly attached to one another throughout 
their long married life that the touching appeal was acceded 
to, and she was accordingly buried in the same grave with 
the Baron. 

The grave of the Barons is situated by itself, and is 
known as An Uaigh Mhor — the great grave, Uaigh nam 


Baran — the grave of the Barons, and Uaigh na Bachuill — the 
grave of Bachuill, and other names. 

One of the Barons was a man of immense strength and 
stature, and was called An Gorm Mor, the big blue. 

The gravestone of this Baron, Leac a' Ghuirm Mhoir, is of 
great interest. The carving on it is that of the Middle 
Ages, and in high relief but greatly weathered and defaced, 
and in some places worn out. On the upper half of the 
stone is the figure of a man in the kilt — much as the dress 
is worn now — and holding a long staff in his right hand, pro- 
bably the staff of Saint Moluag. Along the sides of the 
stone trellised foliage ascends intertwining at the top and 
then bursting into blossoms and drooping gracefully over the 
head of the man. The carving on the lower half of the stone 
is even more obliterated, though still exhibiting traces of 
deer and dogs, of hunters and hunting scenes. 

The following is a copy of the 1544 charter of the 
Livingstones of Bachuill : — 

Universis et singulis pateat per presentes, nos Archibaldum 
Campbell Dominum feodatorium terrarum de Argyll, Campbell et 
Lorn, cum consensu et assensu Carissimi Patris ac Tutoris nostri 
Archibaldi Comitis Argadiae, Domini Campbell et Lorn ac Domini 
terrarum earundem, Concessisse, necnon in honore Dei omnipotentis 
beatse virginis, et Sancti nostri Patroni Moloci, Mortificasse, et pre- 
senti scripto nostro confirmasse dilecto signifero Joanni M'Milmore- 
vic-Kiver, et hseredibus suis masculis, de suo corpore legitime 
procreatis seu procreandis, quibus deficientibus ad nostrum de 
dimidietate terrarum de Poynbachilla et Paynaballan, extendentis ad 
dimidietatem mercatse terrarum jacentes in Insula de Lismore, infra 
dominium nostrum de Lorn et vice comitatem de Argyll, cum 
custodia magni baculi beati Moloci, ita libere sicut caeteri prede- 
cessores dicti Joannis habuerunt a suis predecessoribus, dominus de 
Lorn, cum custodia dicti Baculi in puram et liberam eleemosynam 
prout libere, quiete, honorifice, integre, bene et in pace, sicut aliquse 
terrse infra regnum dantur seu concedantur; et^ hoc, pro salute 
animarum nostrum predecessorum ac successorum. In cujus rei 
testimonium, sigillum nostrum, una cum sigillo carissimi Patris 
nostri ac Tutoris nostrorumque subscriptibus manualibus huic nostro 
scripto jussimus. 


Datum apud Castellachlan, nono die Mensis Aprilis milesimo 
quingentesimo quadragesimo quarto, presentibus ibidem Johane 
M'Caul de Dunolly, Johane M'Caul de Baray, Colino Campbell de 
Ardkinles, et Lachlan M'Lachlan de eodem cum diversis aliis. 

(sic suhscrihitur) Argyll. 
Ex mandate Archibaldi Earl de Argyll. 

Taken by Gregor M'Gregor, minister of Lismore, from a copy tran- 
scribed from the original charter, on the 18th June 1810, in presence 
of Mr. John Stewart, minister of Lismore, and Mr. George Campbell, 
minister of Ardchatten, by Mr. Hugh Eraser, minister. 

Lismore Manse, 
16^^ January 1845. 

To All and Singular let it be known by those presents that we, 
Archibald Campbell, Lord Fiar [feudatory] of the lands of Argyll, 
Campbell, and Lome, with the consent of our dearest father Archi- 
bald, Earl of Argyll, Lord Campbell and Lome, and Lord of the same 
lands, have granted, and in the honour of God Omnipotent, the 
Blessed Virgin, and Saint Moloc our Patron, have mortified and by 
our present writing have confirmed to our Beloved Standard-Bearer 
[signifer], John M'Milmore-vic-Kiver and the heirs-male of his body 
lawfully procreated or to be procreated, whom failing, to return to 
his own gift all and singular our Lands, being half of the lands of 
Poynbachilla and Paynaballan, extending to half of a merk or mark 
land lying in the Island of Lismore, within our Lordship of Lome 
and Sheriffdom of Argyll, with the custody of the Great Staff of 
Saint Moloc as freely as the other predecessors of the said John have 
held from our predecessors Lords of Lome, with the custody of the 
said Staff in pure and free Alms as freely, quietly, honorably, com- 
pletely, well and peaceably as any lands within the kingdom are 
given or granted, and this for the safety of the souls of us our 
predecessors or successors. In testimony whereof we have ordered 
our seal along with the seal of our dearest father and tutor, and our 
manual subscriptions to be appended to this our Writ. Given at 
Castle Lachlan on the 9th of April 1544 in the presence of John 
M'Caul of Dunolly, John M'Caul of Baray, Colin Campbell, Ard- 
kinlas, and Lachlan M'Lachlan of that Ilk, with various others. 

(Signed) Argyll. 

By the mandate of Archibald, Earl of Argyll. 
The names of the lands are not spelt quite the same as in the 
abstract of the Charter in the Origines Farochiales, vol. ii. part i. 


p. 163, where a figure of the Bachuill of Saint Moloc will be found. 
The original is there said to be in the possession of the Livingstones 
of Bachuill, whose representatives still have the Charter, but the 
Staff has been acquired by the Duke of Argyll. 


Cywyddau Cymru — wedi eu dethol a'u golygu gan Arthur Hughes, ynghyda 
Rhagdraeth gan yr Athro EfoWARD Anwyl. Bangor : Jarvis and 
Foster. 3s. Qd. net. 

Probably many readers of Professor Lewis Jones's excellent Caniadau Cymru 
must have hoped for the fulfilment of the desire he there expresses that 
somebody would do for the Cywydd what his own collection does for lyrics 
in 'free metre.' Mr. Arthur Hughes in the present work, which is of 
similar format to the Caniadau, has done it admirably, and produced a 
volume for which all lovers of Welsh literature will feel that they owe him 
a debt of gratitude. This anthology of passages in the cywydd metre, a 
selection of three hundred and thirty-seven pieces from seventy-five authors, 
made with fine taste and critically edited, is a perfect treasure-house of 
beautiful verse, and gives to every Welshman the opportunity of acquaint- 
ing himself with many of the chief poets of his country. One sighs for an 
inspired translator to interpret the poems for English readers ; but alas ! 
such an one has yet to be found, and indeed it may be doubted whether any 
translator, however inspired, could ever render in a non-Celtic tongue the 
finest effects of cynghanedd. To the Welsh reader the book will give 
unalloyed pleasure, and we may echo the hope expressed by Professor Anwyl 
in his preface that it may be *a means of education to generation after 
generation of the sons and daughters of Wales in the gems of their 
country's poetry.' 

The principle of selection followed by Mr. Hughes is, quite rightly, some- 
what different from that adopted in Caniadau Cymru. In an anthology of 
lyrics like the latter book it is far better, except in special cases where a 
portion of a poem can be readily detached from the rest or where a poem is 
of very unequal merit, to give only complete lyrics ; but in dealing with a 
metre like the cywydd, which has been used for poems of every length, from 
a dozen lines to the epical proportions of Dafydd lonawr's Cywydd y Drin- 
dod, and which, moreover, is found along with other metres in the awdl, 
such a principle could be carried out only by excluding from the selection 
some of the finest passages in the language. Mr. Hughes was therefore well 
advised in selecting freely from various cywyddau. Individual selections are 
of course, as in all anthologies, open to question, and it is perhaps to be 
wished that in some cases, for example in that of Dafydd ab Gwilym, more 


complete specimens of the cywydd had been given ; but there can hardly be 
a question as to the Tightness of Mr. Hughes's general principle. Thus the 
book is less an anthology of cywyddau than one of passages in the cywydd 
metre. One improvement might indeed be suggested, with a view to a 
possible second edition — that the poem from which each selection is taken 
should be indicated at the foot. In many cases, after the longer selections, 
are collected a number of couplets; not a few of these 'jewels five words 
long ' would be an ornament to any literature. 

The book being intended for the general reader, Mr. Hughes very 
properly gives the poems in modern spelling, and he further smooths the 
path of the student by a short commentary, grammatical, metrical, and 
general, and by a glossary. There is also at the end of the book a bio- 
graphical index like that in Caniadau Cymru, from which the notices of most 
of the later authors in the book are drawn. In addition to the biographical 
details a short critical appreciation is usually given ; those of Dafydd ab 
Gwilym and Tudur Aled are deserving of special mention. It is scarcely 
necessary to add, to those who know Jarvis and Foster's publications, that 
the book is admirably printed and is, at the price, a marvel of cheapness. 

In turning over the pages of this anthology, which, chronologically 
arranged, shows us the development of the cywydd metre for five hundred 
years, from its origin in the fourteenth century to modern times, two general 
reflections suggest themselves. The first is the beauty and consonance with 
the Welsh genius of cynghanedd, the basis of the cywydd as of all the strict 
metres. It has often been attacked both by Welsh and by foreign critics, 
and it has no doubt sometimes exercised a hampering influence on the 
genius of poets (though probably the Eisteddfodic system, with its set 
themes, is more really to blame) ; but how consistent it is in the hands of a 
master with freedom and flexibility is triumphantly shown by Dafydd ab 
Gwilym on every page. And of what exquisite effects it is capable when 
rightly handled ! How indissolubly, for example, fhe beauty, both of 
thought and phrase, of the following passages is bound up with their 
cynghanedd : — 

' Lie mae'r dyn a'r lliw mor deg 
A'r wennol ar y waneg.' * 

* Y g^ marw,*e gdr raorwyn 
Ddaear dy fedd er dy fwyn.'^ 

* Ymaros di ym mrest hedd, 
ymaros daw mawredd : 

* * Where she abides, the maid whose hue is fair as the swallow on the wave.' 
Note, in the second line, how the cynghanedd reproduces the heaving motion of the 

2 ' dead man, the maiden loves the earth of thy grave for thy sake.' 


'Gwell doniau na gwyllt ennyn, 
Gwell yw Duw na gallu dyn.' ^ 

' Mae'r gerdd annwyl yn wylo, 
A'r Haw wen dan grawen gro.'^ 

' Dros loywlas deyrnas y dydd 
Hi daena ei hadenydd.' ^ 

Secondly the collection well illustrates the extraordinary range and 
adaptability of the cyiuydd. We find this one metre used by Dafydd for his 
exquisite pastorals, playful, tender, or plaintive, by Goronwy Owen to 
describe, with almost Miltonic sublimity, the singing of the morning-stars 
and the fall of the heavens, by Islwyn for his brooding and melancholy 
mysticism, by Lewis Glyn Cothi to ridicule the Saxons of Flint and their 
piper, and by Nicander to sing the praises of cheese ! 

The subjects of these selections are various, but the majority relate, 
like the greater number in any collection, to one or other of the five sub- 
jects, love, nature, death, religion, and the love of country. In the first 
two Dafydd ab Gwilym stands alone. There are strings in the lyre of love 
which he never touched, and to apprehend the deeper spiritual significance 
of Nature as Islwyn for example did was of course impossible to any poet 
of Dafydd's age ; but within his own realm he is unequalled. The extracts 
from his works, placed as they are at the beginning of the book, show his 
greatness more clearly than ever. It does not seem likely that he origin- 
ated the cywydd, but as no earlier instance of it than his time is known he 
must at least have been one of the first to use it ; yet he writes with an ease 
and mastery which later poets can at best only imitate. Of his professed 
disciples — most of the later poets have felt his influence directly or indirectly 
— the most worthy of mention is perhaps Bedo Brwynllys, from whom some 
beautiful extracts are given. Three strikingly imaginative couplets may 
be quoted : ' The sound of my sighing for my darling, my fair one, beats 
upon the east.' 'Thy love, thou sun of the south, pours in rivers on my 
face.' 'My spirit will call unto thy life from wood to wood.' 

The marwnad or elegy has always occupied an important place in Welsh 
literature, ever since the day when Lly warch Hen lamented over ' the white 
town in the valley,' and there are many beautiful examples in this collec- 
tion. Two stand out with a more intimate appeal than the rest. One is 
the elegy (No. 32) of the fourteenth-century poet Llywelyn Goch over 
Lleueu Llwyd, who, tradition relates, had died of grief for a false report of 
his death. Is it possible anywhere in literature to find lines more moving 

1 ' Tarry thou in the bosom of peace ; from tarrying comes might. Better are 
Nature's gifts than wild ardours, better is God than the strength of man.' 

2 'The dear song weeps, and the pebbles cover the white hand.' 

3 ' Over the bright realm of day she (night) spreads her wings.' Note here again 
how the cynghanedd gives the effect of the beatiog of great wings. 


in their intensity of passion than these 1 — * Rise up, sweet soul, and open 
the dark earthen door ; put from thee thy long bed of sand, and meet my 
face, beloved. See here, thou whose gay life was so quickly spent, 
above thy grave the sun's gay dwelling ; and one heavy of aspect for thy 
going, Llywelyn Goch, a bell to ring thy praise, who ranges wild with 
anguish about the door of thy house, Lleueu Llwyd. . . . Rise up to end 
the banquet ; then see if thou wilt choose the grave. Come, with the fox- 
glove in thy cheeks, up from the sad house of clay.' 

The other is the elegy of Lewis Glyn Cothi on his five-year-old son 
with its passionate farewell : ' John sends to his father a pang of longing 
and love : farewell to the smile in my mouth, farewell to laughter from 
my lips ; and farewell now to the ball, and farewell to loud singing ; and 
farewell to my merry friend, here in my life on the earth, to John my 
son ! ' From that century of savage war and monstrous crimes this lament 
of the Lancastrian soldier over his child comes with an almost startling 

Of the religious poems of the fourteenth century those quoted from 
Si6n Cent are the most interesting. Religion has occupied a larger place 
in Welsh poetry since the eighteenth century, and there are several fine 
specimens of modern religious poetry. There is none more noble than the 
lines (No. 327) from Islwyn's awdl to the night, surely one of the great 
masterpieces of the nineteenth century. 

Among poems which sing the love of country may be mentioned the 
fine lines of lolo Goch to Owain Glyndwr (No. 38); but the finest is 
Goronwy Owen's wonderful ode to Anglesey, the poem of which Mr. W. J. 
Grufiydd has said that it is ' the most inspired and inspiring poem of all 
the poetry of the eighteenth century.' 

Among poems not strictly falling under any of the above heads may be 
mentioned specially the well-known cywydd (No. 40) of lolo Goch on the 
labourer, a poem which from the contemporary of Owain Glyndwr gives a 
wonderfully modern impression with its praise of the labourer as * Emperor 
of earth and seas and of all the life of the world.' 

Enough has been said to show the value and interest of this delightful 
collection. It is impossible to conclude without a reference to the serious 
illness which has so unhappily fallen upon the compiler almost at the 
outset of his life's work. The lovers of Wales will hope for him a speedy 
recovery, and that he may long be spared to devote his powers to the 
service of his country. H. Idris Bell. 

Songs of the Hebrides. Some collected and all arranged by M. Kennedy 
Eraser. Edinburgh. 2,s. net. 

We have received further numbers of Mrs. Kennedy Eraser's Songs of 
the Hebrides. The complete work will shortly be issued by Messrs. Boosey, 


London, and promises to be an important contribution to the literature 
of Gaelic music. As the daughter of the famed Scottish singer, David 
Kennedy, and as a highly- trained professional musician well versed in the 
art and folk music of Europe, Mrs. Fraser is well fitted for the task she has 
undertaken. She has sung Gaelic melodies on professional tours with her 
father in various countries, and has the Celtic blood and the Celtic spirit, 
an important qualification for an interpreter of Gaelic folk song to the 
musical world. In the parts sent to us, we notice with satisfaction that the 
original melodies are preserved in their simplicity, without manipulation. 
Many or most of these songs are known to Islesmen, some of them as a dim 
memory of childhood ; but very few of them have hitherto been translated 
into English, or supplied with an instrumental setting. Mrs. Eraser's 
English words are very melodious and lyrical, and reveal very considerable 
poetic talent. They are very free, sometimes practically original, though 
based on or suggested by the Gaelic. This is certainly better than the over- 
literal, stiff" translations that are often worse than bad prose, obscuring the 
clear beauty of the original, as a horn lantern does the light within it. 
But we think this freedom is sometimes here carried to excess, though we 
must say that the vowel system of the Gaelic lines is rendered most happily 
into English in many cases. The outstanding merit of Mrs. Kennedy Eraser's 
work is in the piano arrangements, which are really independent musical 
compositions, full of originality and haunting charm, yet it is remarkable 
that the melody is not obscured or eclipsed, but rather shines the more 
brilliantly as a diamond in a silver setting. The accompaniments are always 
characterised by fitness. The airs lend themselves wonderfully well to 
Mrs. Kennedy Eraser's methods of instrumental writing for the piano, the 
modern equivalent of the harp, for which instrument the older tunes were 
in all likelihood composed at first. These arrangements will delight the 
most fastidious and critical taste, and the work will be a revelation to the 
musical public of the pure and chaste beauty of the little-known songs of 
the Isles. They are true wildings of nature, full of the tender humanity 
of simple souls — songs to make the tears start, some of them, others, 
weird and elemental, suggesting the odour of the seaweed and the roar of 
the billows, full of that exquisite penetrating sensibility often noted as the 
basis of Celtic character. Indeed, these little ballads give a truer insight 
into the hearts of the Island folks in their joys and sorrows than all the 
decadent Neo-Celtic productions of the time. We trust in later numbers 
that the editors will give us as much of the Gaelic words for each song 
as possible. The Gaelic editor, Mr. Kenneth MacLeod, contributes some 
admirable verses of his own to certain airs without traditional words. In 
Song 12 'beallach' for 'bealach' is probably an oversight. We trust Mrs. 
Kennedy Eraser will give at the close of the series some of her thoughts and 
impressions of the general characteristics of Gaelic music. M. N. M, 


Binneas nam Bard. Part I. By M. M'Farlane. Stirling : ^neas M'Kay. 

Price 2s. Qd. 

Mr. M'Farlane is issuing in parts an anthology of Gaelic poetry and 
music under the above title, a valuable compilation which promises to fill a 
special place of its own in Gaelic literature. The first volume contains some 
lengthy heroic poems, such as 'Ba^ Dhiarmaid,' extending to 102 v.erses, 
and also many of the older lyrics. In later volumes a collection of the best 
poems that have appeared in fugitive form in Highland newspapers and 
magazines will be given, with their appropriate melodies, we presume, in 
every case. In this volume the poems are arranged, so far as we can see, 
on no clear principle of chronology or subject, nor are any names of authors 
attached to the poems. No doubt the authorship of many poems is uncertain, 
but it is a glaring defect to print compositions by Duncan Ban and Alex- 
ander M 'Donald without inserting the authors' names. Were these worthies 
alive to-day the Editor would be certain to have an unpleasant experience 
of blistering bardic invective, if perchance he escaped the peril of ' baraille 
Nic-C6iseam.' The subject matter of the poems is of varied interest. There 
are several Laments, poems on the Chief of the Clan, love-songs, songs of 
action, and descriptive pieces. The text has been carefully edited, and is 
very free from typographical errors. 

To read these Gaelic poems is a refreshing experience. They are the 
composition of men who were taught in no school but that of Nature, whose 
songs were not written to order, but are the outflow of natural feeling, and 
often of genuine poetic inspiration. They are specimens of the work of the 
minor poets of the Gael, chiefly, but few of these poems lack the note of true 
passion, or are entirely destitute of lines of beauty and power. Especially 
they reveal personality and thus these productions of past days in the High- 
lands have still an intense human interest. Nothing reveals so intimately 
the life of a people as their literature — especially their poetry. Mr. J. 0. 
Shairp, Professor of Poetry at Oxford, and afterwards Principal of St. 
Andrews University, compares Gaelic poetry with that of England, Eome, 
and Greece, in one of his lectures, and strongly recommends the study 
of it — ' as a poetry which, if narrower in compass and less careful in finish, 
is as intense in feeling and as true to nature and man as anything which 
the classical literatures contain.' 

The Editor has done excellent service in furnishing the reader with the 
melody for each poem in this work, in both notations, without harmonies. 
It is a remarkable fact that nearly all Gaelic poems were written for special 
melodies. Every poem has crystallised round a tune. Gaelic poetry is lyrical 
in the mass ; very little of it is didactic. Even in pure word painting of 
nature, as in ' Beinn Doran,' Duncan Ban uses the varied wild measures of a 
pipe tune with splendid efi"ect. For such a subject Scott or Wordsworth 
would probably have chosen the usual hackneyed octo-syllabic rhyme. Out 
of the great store at hand the Editor has given an admirable selection of 


songs, and the present volume will kindle eager expectation for more of the 
same quality, among all lovers of the Gaelic Muse. He has a delicate task 
to perform in selecting the best of many variants of a popular tune and 
wedding them to the appropriate words. One form may be unconsciously 
preferred to another because of past associations or from having heard it 
well sung, when the strict principles of musical analysis would not justify 
the choice. We have heard other versions of some of these melodies, differ- 
ing widely from the form given, and the reader should not too readily con- 
clude that the form printed is in all cases finally and decisively the best. 
Some at least seem to us lacking in unity, or defective in contrast of parts, 
through repetition of the same phrase, or less melodious than other forms 
we have known. On page 82 two sol-fa notes are wrongly marked — another 
error occurs on p. 103 of a similar kind. There is a brief Preface to the 
book in English and Gaelic. We do not admire the style of the Gaelic 
Preface. It is stiff and un-idiomatic — in fact, the worst piece of Gaelic in 
the book. 

Criticism apart, however, Mr. M'Farlane's work is a large and important 
enterprise well worthy of the support of our readers. The work will make 
a special appeal to all lovers of Gaelic melodies. This part contains no less 
than 52 tunes, many of them fresh and not generally familiar, with hun- 
dreds of verses of poetry, at the low price of half-a-crown. M. N. M. 

The Making of Ireland and its Undoing 

In your notice of Mrs. Green's Making of Ireland (p. 284) the following 
passage occurs : ' Strange to say, the great Norman barons who were settled 
in Ireland at the time of the twelfth-century conquest came over to the 
Irish point of view, became Irishmen, nay Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores, more 
Irish than the Irish themselves. They not only forgot the English tongue, 
but scorned the use of it.' 

It seems to me that this is calculated to give a wrong impression of the 
historical conditions which obtained in the twelfth century, and remained 
substantially unaltered throughout the two following centuries. The 
reader unfamiliar with the history of the time would surely gather that 
there was something apart and distinctive in the conduct of the Norman 
adventurers who made raids (of course the word conquest is quite unjusti- 
fiable) into Ireland in the twelfth century, and would further be tempted, 
I hold, to draw conclusions as regards present day conditions which would 
be wholly erroneous. As a simple matter of fact there is nothing to differ- 
entiate the proceedings of Strongbow and his companions, or the outcome of 
those proceedings, from similar proceedings, and a similar outcome, in other 
parts of the British Isles and of Western Europe generally in the previous 


two hundred years. In the first place let me clear out of the way the 
remark concerning 'English.' It is in the last degree likely that Strongbow 
and his companions and followers did ' scorn English,' but then they did 
so before they raided Ireland, and not in consequence of their raid. It is 
doubtful if more than five per cent, of Strongbow's force could even speak 
English ; it is certain that they only did so sparingly and exceptionally. 
The leaders spoke Norman-French, the men-at-arms, as far as eighty per 
cent, were concerned, spoke Welsh, of the remaining twenty per cent, the 
majority were Flemings from Pembrokeshire. Any linguistic conquest, 
therefore, made by the speech of the invaded Irish was made not at the 
expense of English, but at that of Welsh, Flemish, or French. This minor 
point eliminated, let us take a broad view of Strongbow's raid. He went 
to Ireland to acquire land and wealth, just as for the previous three hundred 
years North-men warriors had gone out on similar errands, just as a hundred 
years earlier the Norman William had come to England. And Strongbow 
stood in the same theoretical relations of feudal obligation (relations, the 
practical nature of which depended ultimately upon the force at the disposal 
of the two parties involved), to the king at London as William had done to 
the king at Paris. Nor can there be any shadow of doubt that if Strong- 
bow had been able, he and his successors would have acted towards the 
king at London exactly as William and his successors acted toward the king 
at Paris. Why they were unable is a point I shall deal with presently. 
To some extent they did try, and in so trying they incurred the familiar 
reproach, hurled at them by the chroniclers of the London king, of becoming 
*more Irish than the Irish.' What this really meant in the mouth of said 
chroniclers was that Irish plus Norman barons were a great deal more 
troublesome than Irish alone. The Norman stiffened and intensified Irish 
resistance. The reproach of the London king's chroniclers was justified. 
But then a similar reproach of the Paris king's chroniclers directed against 
William and his successors would have been equally justified ; they too 
wedded English heiresses, they too ultimately forgot the French tongue, and 
came to scorn the use of it ; they too used the people whom they dominated 
to flout their feudal obligations. And in England it was the Normans, as a 
whole, who became ' more English than the English,' whereas only a minority 
in Ireland became ' more Irish than the Irish ' ; in England the entire 
Norman mass acquired the native speech, in Ireland only a portion. In so 
far as the history of the three centuries, 1100-1400, is concerned, if any con- 
clusion is to be drawn respecting the assimilative capacities of the two 
peoples — English and Irish — it would seem to be in favour of the English ; 
they did assimilate their alien immigrants entirely ; the Irish did not. I 
do not, however, desire to draw such a conclusion ; I believe it would be 
a false one; I believe that historic conditions amply account for the 
difference stated without resorting to doubtful hypotheses about racial 
capacity. But if such hypotheses are to be ruled out on the one side, they 
must be ruled out on the other, and the familiar tag Hibernis ipsis Hiberniores 

NOTES 383 

must cease to stand warrant for the implications it is commonly held to 
carry with it. 

Considerations based on the action of William and Strongbow (and of 
their respective followings) are strengthened if we widen our field of survey. 
The amazing thing about the North-men, and the Normans their descendants, 
is the single-minded realism of their political aims and conceptions, un- 
fettered and unclogged by any racial or linguistic prepossessions. They 
come into the present Normandy — within a generation or two they slough 
their Germanic speech, their Germanic culture, they adopt Romance speech, 
they adopt but transform, and, if I may coin a word, ' businessify ' the 
Romance culture they found; the same phenomenon may be noted in 
southern Italy. By the time of the invasion of England conditions had 
changed : the adopted, the transformed culture (resultant of an infusion of 
fresh young Germanic blood into the Romance organism) has become the 
dominant, the driving culture of the period. But the Norman does not 
therefore forswear his practical, realistic insight; he has to impose his 
culture on England, but he learns as well as he teaches, he does not simply 
dictate and enforce, he adopts, modifies, reshapes such material of English 
culture as seems utilisable and promising, compromises on the question of 
speech (contenting himself with enriching the English vocabulary and 
simplifying both its inflectional system and its syntax) so that as ultimate 
outcome we have the Englishman and the English speech of to-day, re- 
sultants in which, however marked may be the Norman-Romance impress, 
no unprejudiced historical student will deny that the framework, the bulk, 
are Germanic (or, let us say, Germano-Celtic, to allow for that element 
which differentiates the insular from the Continental German) and not 
Romance. Thus it comes about that the two dominant, the two richest 
cultures of modern Europe are the English and the French (the order is 
alphabetical, I do not claim any priority of merit), the one representing the 
most diversified form of Germanic culture, the one most mixed with and 
subject to alien influences, the other occupying the same position in the 
Romance-speaking world ; for France has the advantage over either Italy or 
Spain in that the Celtic and Germanic admixtures, especially the latter, have 
been more persistent and more potent. But Ireland was not the only 
part of the British Isles into which, after the Conquest, there went Norman 
barons, men theoretically under feudal obligation to the king at London. 
They swarmed into Wales, they also swarmed into Scotland, i.e., into the 
land lying between the Cheviots and the Forth, into the domain of kings 
whose centre of power for several centuries was mainly Edinburgh, and 
whom I therefore style kings at Edinburgh. It is instructive in the extreme 
to compare and contrast their conduct (and the outcome of that conduct) 
here with what took place in Ireland. As far as the king at London and his 
partisans are concerned, the Scottised Normans are just as open to reproach 
as the descendants of Strongbow — they became more Scottish than the 
Scots. Within a very short period they practically took over the Germanic 


speech of the people among whom they settled (or the Celtic speech, when, 
as more rarely, they pushed into the Celtic-speaking area) ; they stiffened 
and intensified the resistance of the king at Edinburgh to the feudal over- 
lordship claim of the king at London. The course of proceedings being so 
much the same, why was the outcome so different 1 The answer to this 
question involves and requires a clear realisation of the conditions of the 
twelfth century, conditions which, as I have said, remain substantially un- 
changed until the close of the Middle Ages. We have then the king at 
London : subject to indefinite feudal obligations toward the king at Paris 
against which he is in perpetual conflict; asserting, himself, indefinite 
feudal claims in regard to the king at Edinburgh and the Celtic kings 
of North and South Wales, and definite feudal claims in regard to barons 
in the territory of the king at Edinburgh, in Celtic Wales, and in Celtic 
Ireland. The bulk of his subjects are of Germanic speech and custom : in 
resisting the claims of the king at Paris or in asserting his own against 
Edinburgh or against his barons in parlibus Celtorum, he has to rely more 
and more upon his English-speaking subjects, he ultimately becomes a king 
of England in contradistinction and opposition to other parts of the British 
Isles. We have next the king at Edinburgh, also ruling over a population 
for the most part Germanic in speech; perpetually engaged, mainly in 
resisting the claim of the king at London, subsidiarily in endeavouring to 
extend his sway over the Celtic district lying to the north and west of his 
domain. In the prosecution of the one endeavour he assists and is assisted 
by the king at Paris ; in the prosecution of the second endeavour the tables 
are turned. The Celtic chiefs of the North-west have just as little taste for 
being dominated by the king at Edinburgh as the latter has for being 
dominated by the king at London, and they play exactly the same game. 
They appeal to and intrigue with London just as Edinburgh appeals to and 
intrigues with Paris. For the North British Celt of 1200-1500 London is the 
friend, not Edinburgh. At the end of that period there emerges a kingdom 
of Scotland, mainly Germanic in speech and custom, distinct from and bitterly 
opposed to other portions of the British Isles, but the ultimate junction of 
which with the kingdom of England, kindred in speech and custom, must 
have been clear to clear-sighted men in 1500. 

We now see why the action of the Norman barons who went into the 
kingdom of Scotland had different results from that of those who went into 
Ireland. In the one territory they found a king and a kingdom, a centre of 
organisation to which they could rally, which they could develop in virtue 
of their own more highly developed culture into an organism in which their 
appetite for wealth and power could expand more freely than by remaining 
in close union with and dependence upon the king at London, In the other 
territory they found no such organisation, no such centre ; they are too few 
and weak to transform Ireland by such a process as William had transformed 
England ; they have not the means, thanks to which under Norman guidance 
the kingdom of Scotland was transformed in the period 1050-1200; the 

NOTES 385 

outcome of their efforts, strenuous as the latter often were, is an intensifica- 
tion of the evils from which Ireland had already suffered so long. Had 
Strongbow's raid been deferred for a century Ireland might have developed 
unity on national lines ; had he been a Conqueror, a Robert Guiscard, or a 
Robert the Bruce, he might have imposed unity, constituted a kingdom of 
Ireland which, like that of Scotland, could have held its own against the 
kingdom of England and have joined it, when the fulness of time came, as 
Scotland did, on equal terms. 

It might be urged that the fact of there being kings at London and Edin- 
burgh and only chiefs at Armagh and Cashel is due to the predominantly 
Germanic strain in the population of the one set of territories, and to the 
inherently greater capacity of the one race for political organisation. I 
make no such claim, and I would again deprecate the invocation of doubtful 
hypotheses concerning racial capacity. The difference between the Germanic 
speech area of Britain (including southern Scotland) and Ireland in this 
respect seems to me amply accounted for by the greater predominance in the 
one district of Roman conceptions and ideas. The English assimilated 
rapidly the Roman ecclesiastical ideal, and, through the Church, much of the 
Roman political ideal, fusing the latter with their own customs. The Irish 
resisted with the utmost stubbornness (the contest lasted over five centuries) 
the Roman ecclesiastical ideal, and never accepted more than the merest 
shreds and fringes of Roman political ideals. On turning to Wales, where 
the influence of Rome, whether as an inheritance from the Roman dominion 
(though this is much slighter than commonly asserted) or by infiltration 
from neighbouring England, from the seventh century onwards, is clearly 
traceable, we note that the Welsh king does approximate more closely to 
the common mediaeval ideal of kinghood. Howell Dda or Gruffydd ap 
Cynon or Owain Gwynedd have more points in common with the Conqueror 
or with Edward I., with William the Lion or with James iv., than had 
Brian Boroihme. In Wales the elements of kingship are present, though 
undeveloped, in Ireland they are absent. Mediaeval Ireland is still in the 
tribal stage out of which contemporary France, Germanic Britain, and the 
Empire have passed, out of which Wales was passing when the process was 
rudely hastened by the Edwardian conquest. 

Thus Strongbow's raid takes its place as the final stage of a process 
which began with the establishment of the Duchy of Normandy, and of 
which the main results were the constitution of the mediaeval kingdoms of 
England and Scotland, and hence of the existing polity of Great Britain. 
It cannot be said that any racial issues were involved, and certainly there is 
nothing in the episode to justify racial enmity. Indeed, careful perusal of 
British history in mediaeval time shows what little justification there is for 
the belief in permanent, irreconcilable racial antagonism throughout the 
Middle Ages. In Ireland, in Celtic Scotland, in Germanic Scotland, in 
Wales, we find Celt fighting with Celt, German against German, both 
seeking and welcoming the alliance of the alien race against men of their 


own kin. Take any of the great battles of the period — Brunanburh, 
Clontarf, the Standard, Largs, Bannockburn. There is never the semblance 
of a clear-cut division between the Celtic and Germanic elements of the 
population ; the varying factions combine, separate and recombine without 
the faintest reference to racial considerations. No English king would have 
hesitated to accept Celtic aid against Dane or Norman ; no Celtic chief but 
eagerly welcomed Danish or Norman aid against a rival Celtic chief. 
Alliances that seem the firmest are dissolved from generation to generation ; 
enmities that seem the most bitter are replaced by enthusiastic friendship. 
Well indeed might Roderick Dhu have wondered, could he have foreseen 
that his descendants would be the staunchest adherents of the descendants 
of the hated James. And when Owain Gwynedd, first among the chiefs of 
Celtdom, sought to play ofiP the king at Paris against the king at London, 
he little thought that two centuries later the London king would find no 
braver men-at-arms in his force than among his Welsh followers. Again, in 
spite of the many and close ties between Wales and Ireland in the tenth to 
twelfth centuries, the Welsh had as little hesitation in following Strongbow 
and carving out new homes among the Irish Celts as the Irish would have 
had if the cases had been reversed. 

In historical studies there is one unpardonable sin — one offence against 
the Holy Ghost — to import the passions and enmities of the present into 
the past. For the salient fact which emerges from all historical study, 
prosecuted without prejudice and in single-mirided devotion to truth, is that 
no two sets of conditions are ever alike, that the passions and emotions of 
each age stand and fall to themselves, and that beneath the fallacious 
uniformity of names and boundaries there may be concealed fundamental 
diversity. In particular, there is nothing in the historic record to justify 
the conception of irreconcilable racial antagonisms, or the exaltation of an 
ideal of so-called racial purity. On the contrary, it is by happy admixture 
that the historic races have developed new powers and new capacities, it is 
by cross-fertilisation and not by in-breeding that the historic national 
cultures have gained in breadth and elevation, have enriched and perfected 
themselves. The politician may have some excuse for advocating the ideal 
of separatism — of P articular ismus as the Germans say, — the scholar, who 
should always look beyond the national unit towards an ideal of humanity, 
can have none. Alfred Nutt. 

The death of Dr. Whitley Stokes has come as a sore and unexpected blow 
to his many friends and admirers. His contribution to this number of the 
Celtic Review was probably his last work. Dr. Stokes did not live to correct 
the final proof, which was done by Dr. Kuno Meyer. 


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